Light Up and Light On

Light Up and Light On

Moratuwa, Sri LankaMoratuwa, Sri Lanka
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Rechargeable solar LED lamps made from recycled and locally resourced materials to provide light and economic empowerment for underprivileged communities who have no access to electricity or use kerosene to light lamps.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Communities cannot afford high electricity tariffs and having no employment are faced with no lights after dark or use expensive kerosene oil lit lamps. The lack of lighting leads to children being unable to study, lamps burns, economic frustration due to lack of light to work on micro enterprises while emitting an equivalent of more than 1Kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere a month while villagers spend up to 80GBP a month on kerosene oil.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Light Up rechargeable solar powered LED lamp made from recycled and locally sourced materials provides light in the dark while providing economic empowerment providing training for locals to create lamps for others for a reasonable price. A lamp sold at an equivalent of 15GBP saves a family more than 80GBP while reducing the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by an equivalent of 1Kg. The lamp therefore provides sustainability not only environmentally but economically through the reduction of payment for kerosene oil while providing light to villagers working on their handicrafts and weaving enterprises at night, Villagers selling lamps benefit from an income source earning 15GBP a lamp of which 5GBP is the profit margin per lamp
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

1 Light Up lamp reduces use of 80GBP worth of kerosene per month for one family. No spending on kerosene = 80GBP worth of savings 1GBP = 209 Sri Lankan rupees 20GBP worth of recycled and locally sourced materials bought = 5 lamps 5 lamps = 15GBPX5 = 75 GBP Profit per lamp 5GBP, thus for 5 lamps = 5X5 = 25GBP 25GBP = 5225Rupees 5 lamps made would provide a family with more than half of a usual months earnings through fishing, weaving and handicraft making. Therefore 10lamps made would provide a family with a great income to support themselves and be financially stable and sustainable. A litre of kerosene burned emits 2.96Kg of Carbon dioxide. A family uses more than 5 litres a month, thus 14.8Kg carbon dioxide is not emitted.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Most persons in the Solar energy sector are creating lamps that are very expensive, not aesthetically pleasing, are created with imported materials, have a long charge period and have a only a focus of selling lamps not helping communities to create their own employment. Our approach differs due to pleasing designs, the LED bulbs usage that gives a long battery life and are relatively inexpensive as they are made from locally sources and recycled materials that are found by the communities and provides them with employment and promotion of sustainable living through eco-economic benefits.
About You
About You
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About Your Project
Organization Name


Organization Country

, WE, Moratuwa

Country where this project is creating social impact

, WE, Moratuwa

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

Born during the civil war days in Sri Lanka, I went through power cuts always and couldn't read my favourite books or study for exams. My community faced the same issues, the women couldn't weave, make their handicrafts or even cook during the time, and the fishermen has no way to attract prawns to the nets or go fishing in the night. We had to resort to using kerosene oil lamps which were not only expensive but were a health hazard as many villagers and their houses were burned when the lamps somehow overturned. When I was older and was learning science in grade 10, and saw villagers still struggling, solar lamp use went off in my head. Since then we've innovated it with LED bulbs, and recyclability as well as rechargeability and design.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Waste, Sustainable Agriculture, Smallholder Farmers, Supply Chain Micro-entrepreneurs.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Our customers and recipients are underprivileged communities in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh who have no access to proper electricity or use kerosene lamps for night lighting but have the ability to invest in the lamps. We have distributed over 3000 lamps already. We engage them through local media, engaging youth, street theatre and attractive advertising providing the economic and social benefits at a glance. If family is unable to purchase a lamp, it is given on installment basis repayment.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

With over 3000 lamps sold and more lamps being created by communities in Sri Lanka more than 500Kg of carbon dioxide has been stopped from entering the atmosphere, more than 800 children can study without fear or burns or bad lighting, more than 20 enterprises and 300 fishermen have benefitted from night lighting while families have saved over 960GBP per year after purchasing the lamps while earning more than 10000GBP by creating the lamps.
The future holds further expansion into India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan where over 100 communities are being engaged in the initiative and are in need of the lamps. This will lead to more savings and more creation for better lighting up of lives and being lit out poverty for many of the families for sustainable living as a household's lighting consumes more than 19% of energy. A collection of stories will be published as a book.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

We a team of 10 persons are already creating an online shop for the lamps while creating partnerships with organisations in India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan to sell the lamps as well as train their communities to create the lamps using locally sourced and recycled materials. The prize money would help us purchase more materials that are being sent to recycling stations while fund the website and payment gateway which will enable the smooth and easy sale of the lamps. The publicity will help us get in touch with designers with whom we can collaborate to create better designed lamps and also us get in touch with 6 partners in Asia and Africa with whom we can expand the sale of the lamps and training while creating better designs.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

Resources are secured through the sale of the lamps while the labour costs and creation costs are minimal as they are done by the communities themselves.Our model is save, acquire, create, sell and save. It is a full circle of saving which provides not only financial stability but ensures long term sustainability of the production of the lamps as well as the growth of lamp outreach through partners and networks with continuos production/recycling

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Commonwealth Youth Award 2012 Excellence in Development, 25 Most Influential and Powerful Young Persons of the World 2012 for initiative titled Growin' Money : an eco-social enterprise providing employment for more than 5000 families and replanted over 20,000 Mangroves creating designer handicrafts from Mangroves. Ashoka Youth Venturer.
British Council, World Economic Forum, Commonwealth, Huffington Post, UNEP and UNICEF endorsed.