Rose and her husband Godfrey live in a humble four-room house in Uganda. Together, they raise a variety of crops and livestock, as well as sell various products they make in order to support themselves and their children.
Though several large transmission towers run alongside their village’s single dirt road, no one in the village has electricity in their home. Prior to the introduction of FINCA BrightLife’s solar products, this cruel irony had forced residents to resort to more dangerous means of lighting their homes if they did not want to remain in complete darkness after sundown.
The Price of Kerosene
With sunset occurring year-round at around 6:30 pm, villagers like Rose and Godfrey had to take advantage of daylight when they had it. Even still, they were forced to spend a large portion of their income to buy kerosene to light their homes at night to do ordinary tasks, like making dinner. However, there were many times when they were unable to afford the expensive fuel, and their family would eat in darkness or simply go without dinner.
We would often just skip dinner altogether. Eating in darkness was too miserable.
Missed and miserable meals were just one of the ways that the family suffered from the lack of modern, electric light. With limited daylight after school, Rose and Godfrey were forced to choose whether their children used the remaining daylight to do necessary chores—like bringing drinking water from a well over 1 mile away—or doing their homework. Little did they know that even worse things awaited them.
Like many poor parents, Rose and Godfrey couldn’t always be home with their children. Sometimes they had to leave the older children taking care of the younger ones. However, this less than ideal situation eventually led to tragedy. As Godfrey related it, he returned home one evening and learned that a kerosene lantern had been knocked over in their home causing a fire that killed one of their children.
Devastated by this heartbreaking event—one that is too common in communities without electricity—Rose and Godfrey knew they needed to find a solution to prevent anything similar from happening again. They found a new hope when they came across FINCA’s BrightLife program.
A Light in the Dark
With the flexibility of BrightLife’s low monthly payments, Rose and Godfrey were able to afford a small solar home system. They never would have had enough money to buy a solar system outright, but it was made possible through BrightLife’s unique financing solutions. More recently, BrightLife also choose Rose and Godfrey to field test the latest generation of solar system. It is an upgradable unit that they can add additional lights and appliances to over time.
Thanks to BrightLife, Rose and Godfrey have been able to completely stop using kerosene lanterns in their home. Their children now have the flexibility to do their chores during daylight hours and their homework at night. And most importantly, Rose and Godfrey no longer have to worry about their family’s health and safety.
Now our children can do their homework even when it is dark outside. They even have time to just play and be kids.
Though BrightLife has changed their life immeasurably, Rose and Godfrey are planning for even greater changes in the future. They want to add more solar lights and hope to construct a lighted seating area where they can sell their homemade products. This entrepreneurial endeavor will enable Rose and Godfrey to earn extra money and put them in a better position to feed and clothe their children, pay for their school fees, and create a better life for the entire family.