Voices of Solar Lantern Users: India
We've received a report from International Children's Action Network (ICAN), a Japanese NPO working to improve lives of children in critical situations. The solar lanterns donated by Panasonic are helping the education of children in indigenous villages in the Philippines.
This is ICAN Regional Director Hiroyuki Fukuta. Several months after delivering the solar lanterns, we visited the Pigpamulahan tribal school in Bukidnon Province in central Mindanao Island. Twenty-two solar lanterns were donated to this school.
It was cloudy on the day of the school visit but the solar lanterns lit up the dark room, helping students see the blackboard clearly. The teachers were happy to tell us, "Until now, on rainy or cloudy days, teaching was more difficult because it was harder for students to read the blackboard and text books. Now thanks to the solar lanterns, we can carry on smoothly regardless of the weather." They said that the lights had boosted the students' motivation as well.
A third-grade girl smiled as she told us, "I stopped going to school for a while because I couldn't study in the dark classroom and started falling behind. But when friends told me the school was using solar lanterns, I started going again. Now, I can see the blackboard clearly and I can read and write the alphabet."
In fact, according to the teachers, there have been zero dropouts since the solar lanterns came, and attendance is improving as well.
Solar lanterns were donated between June and August 2015 to a school in a remote mountain village in Bukidnon Province. At the time, teachers struggled with not being able to prepare for classes at home since everything was too dark at night.
Ever since the arrival of the solar lanterns, they can prepare fully for classes even at night and they say that they can now conduct classes more suited to the students' interests by using visual aids which help them understand better. This has brought about changes in the students' learning attitude, with students listening more carefully and taking notes.
In the village, the solar lanterns are used during community gatherings at night. Most of the people in the community attend such events. A village leader said, "The solar lanterns are contributing to children's education and cultural restoration."
We were able to confirm with our own eyes through the recent visit that the solar lanterns were being managed responsibly and that they were being used effectively in the area of education. We have no doubt that the solar lanterns will continue to light up classrooms and fill hearts with bright hope.