TOUCHED by the plight of residents of the peri-urban settlement of Robert Sinyoka who are reportedly surviving on wild fruits due to hunger stalking some parts of Bulawayo’s sprouting dwellings, a United Kingdom-based charity has launched an international appeal online to aid the community.
The appeal by the UK charity called “the4Cs” — climate change community champions — is a response to an article written by Southern Eye last month highlighting the tribulations of residents of Robert Sinyoka and other peri-urban settlements of St Peter’s and Methodist Village in Bulawayo.
Panganai Svotwa, the chairman of the4Cs which comprises a majority of Zimbabweans in the UK, yesterday told Southern Eye from his base in Britain that they had been touched to intervene in the Robert Sinyoka situation after the publication of the article on October 11 2013 headlined Urban dwellers survive on wild fruits.
Svotwa, however, said the4Cs has resolved to provide solar panels for the residents so that their children improve their school grades which in the long run would drive them away from poverty.
“We hope the solar lamps will among other things, increase study hours per night for schoolchildren and improve their test scores and pass rates, hence making a positive step in the poverty alleviation strategies,” Svotwa said.
He noted that Robert Sinyoka population, a few kilometres from the high-density suburb of Old Pumula, is among the 1,6 billion people worldwide who do not have access to electricity and typically rely on dim, dirty and dangerous kerosene lamps and firewood for light and fuel.
As a result, hundreds of children have limited or no opportunity to study at night.
Svotwa said the4Cs charity has begun an online donations campaign to raise money to buy solar lamps for donation to the Robert Sinyoka residents numbering about 300, in an effort to improve, especially the children’s lives, through bettering their education.
Individuals, companies and organisations are asked to support the campaign and help to change the trajectory of Robert Sinyoka children’s lives, by making online donations through the official link
Advantages of solar lamps:
- Extends the working day
Solar lighting allows families to extend their workday into the evening hours. Many villages where solar lights are installed see an increase in their economic activity levels. Installing solar lights in villages allows businesses to operate during the evening. Solar electricity helps promote local enterprises as small shops and village markets can use the systems to provide lighting to operate during the evening.
- Improves health issues
Fumes from kerosene lamps in poorly ventilated houses are a serious health problem in much of the world where electric light is unavailable. The World Bank estimates that 780 million women and children breathing kerosene fumes inhale the equivalent of smoke from two packs of cigarettes a day. By the use of Solar lanterns these issues are resolved.
- Stems urban migration
Improving the quality of life through solar lighting at the rural household and village level helps stem migration to mega cities. Also, studies have shown a direct correlation between the availability of proper light and lower birth rates.
- Improves fire reduction
Kerosene lamps are a serious fire hazard in the developing world, killing and maiming tens of thousands of people each year. Kerosene, diesel fuel and gasoline stored for lamps and small generators are also a safety threat, whereas solar electric light comes as the safest measure for all.
- Improves literacy rate
Solar light improves literacy, because people could read after dark more easily than they can by candle or lamp light. School work improves and eyesight is safeguarded when children study by solar powered light.
- Reduces local air pollution
Use of solar electric systems decreases the amount of local air pollution. With a decrease in the amount of kerosene used for lighting, there is a corresponding reduction in the amount of local pollution produced. Solar rural electrification also decreases the amount of electricity needed from small diesel generators.