Brightening Lives, One Light At A Time
Guest Blog by Andrea Sreshta, LuminAID Co-Founder
Anna and I started LuminAID after working on a project together in architecture school. It was just following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and we wanted to find a way to help communities struggling without electricity. Families were living in pitch-black tent cities, occasionally using candles for lighting which were prone to cause fires. Without access to schools and safe lighting, children’s education was interrupted. After understanding these needs, we invented a solar-powered lantern that is ultra-compact and waterproof, and could be used by families living in temporary shelters after natural disasters. After prototyping some designs to respond to these needs, we realized we had an idea that could make a difference.
Since that first prototype we built in our kitchen, our solar lanterns are providing safe lighting for families around the world without dependable access to electricity. Through our Give Light Get Light program, we have worked with a wide variety of organizations, sending donated lights to support children’s access to education and working with first-responders to deliver our lights as aid after global disasters including Typhoon Haiyan and the earthquakes in Nepal. To-date, we have distributed more than 30,000 lights to families in over 60 countries through Give Light, Get Light.
This past year, we found some circularity in our mission originally inspired by Haiti, and were able to help respond to the needs of families following the destruction of Hurricane Matthew. We worked with organizations including Convoy of Hope to send our solar lanterns, along with food and medical aid to Haitians affected.
Inspired by the impact we’ve achieved, we’ve expanded into a small business and a team of six. In addition to lighting for humanitarian aid, our lights are popular with campers, hikers and outdoor recreationalists. Being able to sell our lights through commercial outlets such as luminaid.com and retail stores has given us a foundation to build a business coupled with a mission to help those in need have greater access to sustainable lighting.