Sun24 and Church to deliver 40,000 solar lights in Uganda

Sun24, a Florida based non-profit, announced this week an expanded partnership with Caritas Uganda, the social service arm of the Catholic Church, to distribute more than 40,000 low-cost solar lights to poor families.

“Our partnership with Sun24 is easing a great need of the poorest of poor in my country,” said Father Michael Mukasa, Caritas Kiyinda Mityana Diocese, of the Catholic church in Uganda.

Sun24 is a non-faith based nonprofit that has distributed, over 170,000 solar lights in Africa. Sun24, working with numerous Catholic dioceses in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guatemala, has distributed solar lights to families without electricity.

Under this expanded partnership, all 22 dioceses in Uganda will receive 2,000 solar lights, free of cost, to distribute to families without electricity.  The Church will sell the lights at a very low price, enabling it to purchase more lights to distribute.  By not buying kerosene, the families will save far more the than the purchase price.

“With its unparalleled infrastructure, the Catholic Church distributes to the poorest of poor in the most remote areas,” said Kevin McLean, President of Sun24. “These families have no access to quality solar products.”

The small solar light a self-contained unit with an LED light in front, a solar panel on the back, and a battery inside. It is twice a bright as the kerosene lamp it replaces, provides four hours of light per night, and lasts over three years.

“We are transparent in partnering with the Catholic Church,” said McLean. “We hope others copy and even improve upon our model.”

600 million sub-Saharan Africans lack electricity.  Most use filthy kerosene lamps that are unhealthy (lung disease), dangerous (fires) and expensive (for fuel).  Kerosene lamps have an outsized impact on climate change, emitting both carbon dioxide and black carbon.

“There are no magic bullets that will solve all of our greenhouse gas problems, but replacing kerosene lamps is low-hanging fruit,” Kirk R. Smith, renowned environmental scientist.

“In my diocese, few homes have electricity. Kerosene lamps cause many fires and lung disease. Kerosene is expensive. The Sun24 solar lights are a blessing,” said Father Emmanuel Tamale, Kiyinda Mityana Diocese in Uganda.

“In our twin parish in Nalweyo, Uganda, very few households have electricity.  Working with Sun 24, my parish plans to give a solar lamp to every family in our twin parish.  Since the cost per lamp is so low, our goal is for Blessed Trinity to provide 10,000 solar lamps,” said Father Pat Sheedy of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, Ocala, Florida that is paired with a sister church in Uganda.

The solution includes a simple $4 solar light that replaces a family’s dependence on unhealthy, dangerous and costly kerosene lamps. Charging the lamp during the day gives over 4 hours of clean, bright, high-quality light at night.

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