London, UK-based international charity SolarAid has raised more than US$300,000 to supply thousands of free solar-powered devices to medical professionals fighting the coronavirus pandemic at health clinics and isolation centres in rural Malawi and Zambia.
In the early days of the pandemic, as both African countries recorded their first COVID-19 deaths, SolarAid set out on an urgent mission to help some of the world’s most vulnerable communities prepare for the onslaught.
“Imagine facing this pandemic in the dark,” SolarAid founder and UK social entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett wrote at the time. “As I picture the emerging miseries, Africa leaps to the front of my mind. Anybody who has been there knows how hard it will be for any kind of containment of the virus. Anyone who has sat in the dark with an African family knows just a little of the horrors that come in the pitch blackness, and the dangers that come when candles or kerosene are used to alleviate it. And now comes a pandemic.”
But now, SolarAid reports that its SunnyMoney fundraising team exceeded its original goal for the group’s Moments of Sunshine campaign, in the end raising “an incredible £264,039 (US$331,000) to support rural communities and health facilities during the pandemic.”
The non-profit, which raised the funds with the help of matching commitments and support from partners like K Aid, Next Energy Foundation, d.light design inc., and Signify Foundation, has already used the money to acquire and donate 4,250 solar products, including vital solar lights and phone chargers.