GravityLights bring light into the darkness
100 Families have light thanks to GravityLights
One hundred families living in the refugee camp Karenni Refugee site 1 received GravityLights from Counting Flowers in 2017. The camp is situated in the mountainous north of Thailand, along the border with Myanmar – the country from which the refugees originate.
Most people living in the camp belong to the Karenni people. They fled the military junta regime, together with several other ethnic groups, since 1985.
As there is no electricity in the camp, people have no choice but to light candles in the evening. This does not only limit their evening activities, it also leads to dangerous situations. In July 2017 part of the camp got on fire. The cause of this: a candle that had fallen over.
In no time people’s vulnerable huts from bamboo went up in flames. Luckily the fire caused no casualties, but 75 families lost their house and their already scarce belongings.
GravityLights are special lamps that have been specifically designed for people living in remote areas with no access to electricity. The lamps are powered by the lift of a weight (gravity).
Each lamp has a bag that can be filled with stones or anything else heavy. Its weight makes the bag fall slowly, thus creating light. After about 20 minutes the bag has reached the ground. By lifting it again, the process is iterated. Thanks to this simple technique now 100 families finally have electric light in their house.
We, Elike and Matthijs, visited the camp in December 2017 to explain to the people how to use the lamps, and to help with the distribution. The GravityLights received a warm welcome. We received various positive feedback, but we especially liked the enthusiastic reaction of some female weavers: “From now on we can also weave in the evening!”.
Elike with one of the weavers in Karenni Refugee site 1
We are also very pleased that the girls attending the Women Study Programme an initiative that has also been supported by Counting Flowers, now have the opportunity to study in the evening.
As in Thailand the sun goes down rather early in the evening, these GravityLights make live a little bit easier.
Counting Flowers collaborates closely with Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment [WEAVE], a Thai foundation active in refugee sites in the North of Thailand. Through WEAVE Counting Flowers remains informed about the way the donated GravityLights are being used.
Read also about other projects supported by Counting Flowers.