When I first read about this use of solar power, I was a little sceptical.
The reason why I felt like this might become clear once I explain more about an invention called "The Zubabox."
In 2010, Computer Aid launched the first mobile solar powered internet café.
Their aim was to provide internet access to poorer rural regions in developing countries.
Now it might be just me, but at first glance I thought, "surely there is more important things that they focused on and that they need?! For example food etc."
Yes these things are very important too, as we all have seen the adverts asking for help for these people.
As I kept reading however I began to understand what they are trying to accomplish by building these "cafes."
"Zuba" is the word for sun in Nyanja, a language spoken in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Southern Zambia.
These mobile internet cafes are constructed from a used shipping container, fitted with 11 monitors that run exclusively on solar power, generated from the panels on the roof.
It does sound very resourceful aye?!
So why is it beneficial for these people to be connected, when they have so many other concerns which they are trying to deal with?
Being linked in to the web is crucial for facilities such as hospitals so they are able to connect to other places quickly and thus can preserve life.
On top of looking after people's physical wellbeing, this tool will be a boon to improving the quality of life for many it supplies.
It will give children a better education, allow farmers to keep ahead of weather changes so they can alter their planting and care of crops to suit.
In addition the skills people learn using computers could provide better job opportunities which can mean increased pay for individuals and their families.
This can allow children and others to actually dream big and have more opportunities to reach out for these dreams!
This brought to my mind Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o giving her acceptance speech, she said, "may it remind me and every little child, that no matter where you're from, your dreams are valid!"
So what I took from this, was that during this holiday season, we will see a lot of calls for help for many charities around the world.
Most will look up from eating their turkey and see these, and think "how sad" and go back to eating.
Let us this year resolve to actually take note, not just of needs that need to be addressed physically (which of course are so incredibly important!) but also these other areas that will greatly benefit these populations.
All these benefits and they are being addressed in a green way, I'm sure there is a lesson for us all in this story, don't you think?
Computer Aid website: http://www.computeraid.org/zubaBox-solar-internet-hub.asp
Thumbnail Source: http://www.slideshare.net/trendwatching_com/201312-5-trends-africa
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