News / Africa

    Youth Group in Nairobi Illuminates Homes, Schools

    A youth group in one of Nairobi's many teeming slums has found a brilliant way to light up dark houses. Drawing upon an innovation from Brazil, the young people have installed so-called "water bulbs" in homes and schools. The "bulb" is made from everyday materials and can produce as much light as a 60-watt conventional bulb.

    Abbass, 11, can barely read what is in his book. In the middle of the day, the family's windowless tin shack feels like the darkest night.

    But a few blocks away, members of a youth group called Koch Hope are preparing to change that.  First, they fill a two-liter bottle of water, add a little bleach and, with the water, bleach, a caulking tube, and some tools, make their way to Abbass's house.

    Next, they cut a hole in the tin roof as a mesmerized Abbass watches.

    The bottle containing the bleach is passed through the hole, the hole is sealed with caulking, then tested for leakage, and

    Voila!  Abbass and his family are now able to read, learn, and do things that they had struggled to do in the dark.

    Abbass' mother, Madina Muhsin, says she will be saving almost half of her weekly income spent on kerosene now that her home is receiving the equivalent of around 50 to 60 watts of light.

    "I'm very happy," said Muhsin.  "I can see the light. Before it was all dark, dark, dark. Now I am happy - I am very happy."

    The Muhsins are the latest family in the Nairobi informal settlement of Korogocho to receive the so-called "water bulb," in which water and bleach refract sunlight. The bulb also works under a full moon.

    Most people living in Korogocho and other Nairobi informal settlements do not have access to electricity, and earn somewhere between $1-$2 a day.

    Community worker Matayo Magalasia grew up in a dark house in Korogocho. His family was too poor to afford kerosene.

    As a young adult, Magalasia stumbled onto a YouTube demonstration of the technology, first discovered in Brazil.

    "I started thinking, can I get the two-liter bottle? Yes, I can get the two-liter bottle, there is the Dandora dumping site on the other side of the slum. Can I get water? Yes, I have water. Can I get the bleach? That one I can buy. Can I get the silicon? Yes, I can buy that," Magalasia said.

    His early struggles motivated him to approach Koch Hope with a plan to spread this innovation around.

    Koch Hope picked up the challenge and had installed water bulbs in about 100 Korogocho homes during 2011.

    One of those homes belongs to Veronica Wanjiru and her two children. She says her eldest son had to repeat a grade at school, because he was not keeping up with his homework.

    "I have seen a big difference, especially with my children's education," said Wanjiru.  "If they are given homework, they can finish it on time.  They do not have to wait for me to come and light the candle or go outside and do their studies outside so that they can finish their homework."

    Koch Hope wants to expand the project to other areas, but says it needs help to pay for the relatively expensive caulking materials that seal the hole.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora