“Power to Read” -Promoting Literacy With Solar Lamps

Today we are celebrating International Literacy Day. It is no secret, that the illiteracy rate in many regions of the world is still seriously high. The Little Sun Foundation empowers school children all over the world to improve their literacy by providing them with a powerful reading tool – a solar lamp.

Education is the first and foremost right of every human being. It empowers people to create a self-determined future. Imagine your child would not have the chance to learn reading and writing. Imagine the limitations your child would experience in social interaction and development. Literacy is the absolute precondition for education. It is a crucial step to acquire the basic skills needed to cope with the challenges children, youth and adults will face throughout their lives. Going one step further, education is the foundation for a sustainable future.

In many countries in the world children don’t have the chance to adopt reading and writing skills. As an example, 38% of African adults cannot read, whereas women are even more disadvantaged. Reasons for illiteracy are beside generally sparse school education especially the lack of energy access. The problem is especially serious in Sub-Saharan Africa: 90 percent of children there go to primary schools that lack electricity. The lack of energy limits the quantity and quality of the children’s education.

To combat illiteracy, lighting needs to be accessible in areas without reliable energy supply. Lighting can enable classes to be taught early in the morning or late at night. Using sustainable solar lighting, off-grid communities are enabled to work and study after sunset. And children can study in the comfort of modern light. Kerosene lamps and firewood produces very poor lighting, which affects the motivation, and leads to eye and lung problems. Another reason to talk about energy access when talking about literacy.

There are already numerous organizations promoting literacy around the world. Reading skills of children are fostered through early education and the provision of reading materials. But how should children practice reading in areas of the world without energy access?

We want to create the base for making reading and therefore education possible in the first place. By giving solar-powered lamps to students and teachers in areas with poor energy supply, we enable them to improve their literacy skills. The rechargeable lamps provide clean and safe lighting for the students and enable them to read and study, even after sunset.

Our project “Power to Read” brings solar light to school children in communities without access to energy. Within our pilot project in March 2017 we brought sustainable light to Ethiopian students at three primary schools in the Bahir Dar Zuria district. Together with our local partner in Ethiopia Pro Pride and in cooperation with the Ethiopian Ministriy of Education 1000 school children have already received a rechargeable solar-powered lamp.

Following the distribution, the students learned about the importance of sustainable energy and how to use their lamp. The survey we conducted shows that the students’ reading performance improved noticeably. That is not suprising, since all respondents stated that they could practice reading also after sunset.

Besides the educational effect, the project also improved the living conditions of the students and their families. The solar-powered lamps are a healthy and safe alternative to kerosene lamps. Although kerosene lamps produce toxic fumes and are highly flammable, they have been the only source of light for many families before the distribution of the lamps.

All in all, the start of the project has been a huge success and improved the living conditions of the involved children and their families sustainably.                                                               Check out the full impact report: Power to Read – Ethiopia


Our aim is to give as many solar-powered lamps as possible to people in urgent need of energy. We want to enable more students around the world to improve the reading and writing skills by having access to independent and reliable light.

You want to support our mission?