When the evening falls we turn on our lights. It’s something we don’t even think about. It’s a habit. We make our homes cozy by dimming the lights and our lightbulbs are sitting comfortably in beautiful light fixtures. We turn on the lights at our desk so we can read our books and keep working. We don’t even walk up or down the stairs without making sure we see where we go. And when we walk to our friend’s house at night in an area that doesn’t have streetlights we grab our phone and turn on the flashlight so we can see better and have a sense of safety.
Light has become something we have taken for granted. The romantic side of it but more importantly the practical and safety side that light offers us.
But many people have to live without the option of turning on the light when it gets dark and scary.
In Kurdistan are more than 55 refugee camps, 14 of which are located in Erbil. Together these camps host over 105,766 displaced people. Often with very limited resources and without the basics that are needed. Three of these camps are considered as some of the most extremely vulnerable camps. The Khazar Camp, Hassan Sham U2 Camp and the Hassan Sham U3 Camp.
These three camps are located far away from Erbil near Mosul and barely receive any humanitarian aid or help. And there is no running water or electricity. People in these camps are depend on fire to see in the dark and light up their tents. This is incredibly dangerous but due to the lack of electricity and batteries most people have no other option.
We wanted to bring light to the most vulnerable people living in these camps. And thanks to a generous donation we were able to distribute about 550 WakaWaka solar lights to displaced people with disabilities and to children.
Not only have the solar lights proven to be very useful and a safe way to see in the dark we also noticed that crime rates have dropped. Because of how little the WakaWaka lights weigh people started to carry them around the camp at night. Women, for example, carry them when they have to go to the bathroom at night and feel a lot safer than they did before. There is even ‘blinking’ setting on the WakaWaka light to get the attention of people and show that you are in distress. “Predators depend on darkness to attack us. With light, they can be identified and are less likely to attack.” Says Jasm.
We knew this distribution would be important from a practical- and safety point of view. But we couldn’t have imagined it would make this much of a difference and have such great side effects.
Hopefully we can distribute many more of these lights to people living in camps knowing it will improve their lives drastically.
Everyone deserves light and safety.