255 children in districts where the REALISE Project is working in Uganda no longer have an excuse not to do their homework – and they’re happy about it! In August, solar lamps were given to students who performed well at school but came from situations that made them particularly vulnerable, many being orphans or living in single-parent households.
Paraffin fuel for lamps, called tadoobas, is expensive and creates a lot of smoke. Families could not afford to burn the lamps for long hours while children study and the smoke would make the kids’ eyes water.
“Before I got the solar lamp, I used to do my homework at school. This would make me leave school very late and I would be afraid on the way home. No revision could take place at home because there was limited paraffin (lamp fuel) for reading. But ever since I received the solar lamp, I do my homework at home and also revise my books at my own time,” explained Birungi Jennifer, who is 13 years old.
Now, solar lamps have been distributed in 14 different schools, benefitting not only the students who earned the lamps but their siblings as well. Mbabazi Brian, also 13, hopes that he and his family will have better grades at the end of the term this year. “My siblings and cousins in lower classes also use it (the lamp) to do their homework. I believe that by the end of the term, our performances will have improved since our work is always done on time.”
The REALISE Project runs from 2013 until 2016 in the Hoima District in Uganda, where almost 13% of households grow tobacco and 8,000 children have been identified as being affected by child labour. Midterm evaluations of the project in 2015 showed that REALISE is well on the way to meeting established goals, including providing children and families from over 18,000 households in tobacco-growing communities with reliable access to: basic services, quality education, and sustainable ways to generate income and meet their diverse needs
The solar lamps were made possible by the special funding support to ECLT Foundation by the Global Tobacco Networking Forum and donations from “Women in Tobacco”.