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Help Disadvantaged Children to Build and Install Solar Lights in Sports Courts and Community Spaces

Charity: SolarBuddy.org
Location: Australia
Genre: Community Welfare
Energy poverty is one of the worst forms of poverty. It is widely unrecognised, yet impacts education, health and wellbeing, the environment, and economic growth. Approximately 789 million people are devastated by energy poverty worldwide. Responsible for more deaths annually than AIDS and malaria combined, it disproportionately affects women and children. Access to electricity is a basic human need.

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In Australia, 500,000 people live without access to reliable energy; primarily remote Indigenous communities are affected.  Almost 24  percent  of  their  electricity needs are supplied by unaffordable, polluting diesel fuel,  with  only  1  percent  from  renewable  sources. Community or domestic generators remain the main source of electricity for just over half (53 percent) of Indigenous communities

Despite Australia being a country rich in natural resources, many  communities  rely  on  electricity  cards,  which often fall short of what is needed.

Approximately 30 percent of Indigenous households experience income poverty. Youth living in poverty face increased risk of family stress, drug and alcohol use and financial stressors, leading them to spend less time at home, but unable to afford activities outside of the home. Unfortunately, due to a lack of resources provided to communities, many youth fall into the justice system, where First Nations youth are disproportionately detained and penalised

Statistics show students in remote and/or low socio-economic   areas   have   low   access   to   STEM educational activities,  and  are  three  years  behind their  peers  in the STEM field,  despite  the prediction that future workers will spend more than twice as much time on job tasks requiring science, maths  and  critical  thinking  than  today.  Providing greater access to STEM  educational  opportunities for Indigenous children is future proofing.

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How SolarBuddy’s project addresses this problem:

SolarBuddy’s Illuminating Communities Initiative is designed to address the  energy  injustices  that  persist across  Australia. Through this initiative, SolarBuddy are addressing the gap in educational opportunities for Indigenous students, and lack of lighting in community spaces that are conducive to community safety, mental and physical well-being.

Environmental, social and economic change presents complex challenges that require sustainable and connected solutions. Over the past five years, our education program has proven results in sparking students’ engagement with and curiosity for STEM subjects, particularly in the context of using it to create social good and to help others. Funding to support the Illuminating Communities program will not only allow us to be a physical light in young lives, but also spark curiosity and belief in STEM education and engagement.

Installing solar lights in sports courts and community spaces will provide a safe space for young people to build their own community centred around sport, recreational and cultural activities. Past initiatives by various organisations that focused on providing access to community centric sporting and recreational activities positively impacted both young people and their wider community.

“It (solar flood lighting) would mean everything for our kids. It would mean creating the opportunity for them to  participate in after-school activities, opportunities to participate in activities outside of school on the weekends, cultural activities, performing arts and other events. Yes, it would mean a lot.”

– SUBERIA BOWIE, PRINCIPAL, TAGAISTATE SECONDARY COLLEGE

 

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Together with our First Nations partners we measure both quantitative and qualitative data in the areas below, relating to the environment, equity and inclusion, quality of living and reduction of poverty, particularly fuel/energy poverty. Key success measures include:

  • Percentage increase in study hours
  • Increase in health and wellbeing across demographics
  • Increased sense of safety and life satisfaction
  • Money families and communities save on diesel generators
  • C02 emissions reduced
  • Increase in student academic outcomes
  • Increase in student’s school attendance and retention
  • Reduction in crime
  • Number of students engaged in STEM activities
  • Longevity of solar products

 

By solarising sports  fields  and  community  spaces,  SolarBuddy  aim  to  enhance  physical,  emotional,  spiritual,  cultural, environmental  and  community  well-being. Engagement in sports and extra-curricular activities,  including  those  that  promote  cultural  expression  are  proven  to  have  a  positive  impact  on individual and community wellbeing.

A donation of 20 JuniorBuddy lights will:

Positively impact 20 lives
Create 36,500 additional hours of light
Offset 6.4 tonnes of C02
Plant the equivalent of 106.5 trees

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