Well done to the students of Albany Creek State High School who are lighting the way for rural communities in Papua New Guinea by building solar-powered lights for them, guided by the Origin Energy Foundation and Australian charity SolarBuddy.
Around 270 Year 7 students at the school built about 100 solar lights as part of the Lights for Learning Program and to provide new opportunities for children living in energy poverty in Papua New Guinea.
Access to electricity in Papua New Guinea is dire, with only 13 percent of the population having reliable power, according to SolarBuddy.
This severe lack of lighting after dark makes it difficult for children to study or read at night. As a result, an estimated 38 percent of Papua New Guinean children under eight years old cannot read or write.
Albany Creek State High School Principal Janelle Amos said the program offers a myriad of benefits for both students involved in the assembly of the solar-powered lights as well as those disadvantaged children living in light poverty.
“The learning aspect of this program aligns with science and geography curriculum as it involves students learning about the importance of renewable energy, which is critical at a time when the country is transitioning to cleaner energy technologies.
“This project also allows students to acknowledge that not all citizens have equal access to resources and, by participating in building a solar light with the intention of giving it to someone less fortunate, provides students with an opportunity to think of others.”
Head of the Origin Energy Foundation Michelle Zahra said, “Since this initiative began five years ago, more than 9,000 Australian students and their teachers, like those at Albany Creek State High School, have helped deliver more than 10,000 lights.
“With the introduction of SolarBuddy lights, children in PNG are studying 78 percent longer and reliance on kerosene and other dangerous fuels has been reduced by 8 percent,” said Ms Zahra.
“Since these fuels are also the single biggest expenditure for households, that money can now be spent on food, health and education.
Ms Zahra added that origin volunteers who take part in these workshops find it incredibly rewarding to see the impact STEM education has on school students as they become global citizens for a day, discovering how simple renewable energy technologies can make a real difference to energy poverty.