A Caring World

The Luxury of Light

Electricity is not something that everyone has access to. The International Energy (IEA) states that there are 1.3 billion people living in the world without electricity. Furthermore, "more than 95% of these people are either in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia."

Lights are needed so that children can safely do homework and chores, and so that people can travel safely in rural areas. Although moonlight helps for safe travels, it is not enough. Kerosene and propane are dangerous and such fuel costs money. Many use candles in their homes, but those are also dangerous, since they can cause fires. Yes, lights are definitely a luxury.

While access to electricity is a world-wide problem, in some countries the situation is worse than in others. In the following countries, about 70 percent or more of the population do not have electricity in their homes:

Burkina Faso, Burundi, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), Chad, Kenya, Malawi, Central African Republic, Liberia, Cambodia, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Vanuatu, Mauritania, Solomon Islands, and Zambia.

Regarding the United States, "three quarters of all people living without electricity in the United States - over 18,000 families - reside on the Navajo Indian Reservation in the Four Corners region" (One Million Lights). The Navajo Nation runs through New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona.

There are other pockets of the United States where a significant amount of people are living without electricity. These includes: Owsley County (Kentucky), Pine Ridge Reservation (South Dakota), Philadelphia and surrounding areas, and Fair Park (Dallas).

Solar lights harness energy from the sun, thus no electricity is needed. There are some things you can do to help people obtain solar lights.

1) Volunteer for One Million Lights: opportunities include research, adding to their website, raising funds, and bringing solar lights to people who need them. You do not have to live in the same state where the agency is located to get involved.

One Million Lights


Volunteer Page

Global Ambassador Program

2) You can donate (even very little money) to bring lights to areas that have no electricity or limited electricity:


One Million Lights

Solar Electric Light Fund


.International Energy Agency. Energy Poverty.

. One Million Lights
Homepage: http://onemillionlights.org/
Volunteer: http://onemillionlights.org/blog/2010/06/08/volunteer/
Map of Lights (Eagle Energy, Navajo Village): http://onemillionlights.org/mapoflights/

. World Bank Group, Access to electricity (% of population)

. Sugimoto, M. (Dec. 30, 2010). Hawaii News Now, Some low-income families living with no electricity, HECO proposes assistance.

. DailyMail.com (April 24, 2012), America's poorest county: Proud Appalachians who live without running water or power in region where 40% fall below poverty line,

. Guevara-Stone, L. (Jun 24, 2014). RMI Oulet, Native Energy: Rural Electrification on Tribal Lands

. National Prairie Broadcasting. (April 21, 2015). Solar Power Makes Electricity More Accessible On Navajo Reservation http://www.npr.org/2015/04/21/401000427/solar-power-makes-electricity-more-accessible-on-navajo-reservation

. Lubrano, A. (March 20, 2013). Philly.com. Of big cities, Phila. worst for people in deep poverty

. Homes for Our Neighbors. (May 1, 2011). South Poverty Tour Stuns South Dallas Ministry Leaders.

Table of Choices

Graphic: Moon Shining at Nighttime, by Sharon Lee Hudson

A Caring World: (c) Sharon Lee Hudson