FIRELIGHT FOUNDATION wrote -
The Northland Challenge of 2014 will take us to a region of Rwanda that is literally off the grid. The schools and homes of 20,000 people in the Janja district have no electricity. After nightfall, the family will huddle around kerosene lanterns for light to study and work by. The light is dim and the smoke is unhealthy. Our partner, the Firelight Foundation, has planted an important seed in the district to change this by funding the first solar panels for individual homes. Firelight partner and grant beneficiary, Association Inkoramutima, has laid a foundation for a self-propagating electricity ecosystem. They have sourced a low-cost, stand-alone solar solution proven to work in the environment provided by a local service provider that trains and employs residents to install and service the systems. In addition, Firelight works with a third-party auditor to ensure funds are well spent. Our goal is to raise enough money to fund solar panels for 100 homes!
Association Inkoramutima has structured this project so that these 100 homes will act as a force-multiplier for our donations to eventually provide light for the 20,000 people of Janja. Recipient families of the solar panels will pay a monthly fee that will be placed back into funds with Association Inkoramutima. Inkoramutima will then be able to train and employ more people to not only kick-start a solar energy strategy for all the homes in the Janja district, but to also act as an example for other remote districts with a business model that is self-sustaining. This is truly a grass-roots campaign where little money will have a huge long-term impact.
But that is not enough. In our preliminary assessment of worthy causes for the Northland Challenge 2014, we also came across a completely different cause: a transitional housing center for homeless boys who are taken off the streets of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The center takes a very holistic approach to the health, shelter and education of the boys. The boys are not only integrated back into society, but are taught responsibility for the management and operation of the entire center. Their business and survival skills could teach many an entrepreneur how to thrive. With a budget of only $120,000 per year, Les Enfants de Dieu, house, clothe and feed 87 children.
Our fundraising challenge strives to exceed our goal to light 100 homes with the added objective of helping the children of Les Enfants de Dieu.