In developed countries, having electricity has become so obvious that people don’t even think about how life would be without it. Only when the short well-announced power breaks happen, the distress and reminder of its value come back to mind. But now imagine that not only your home, but streets around your home would also be in complete darkness every night.
Light – a single word which has the power to bring happiness or distress in our lives.
Light gives a feeling of security, especially in the country where most of the activities take place in the evening hours. Keeping no track of time and with the rapid disappearance of the daylight in the evening, many villagers are caught in the night while returning home from work. Even small kids, who are used to playing on the streets with friends, extended families or neighbours, would sometimes find it hard to come back home, especially without the gadgets that we are all to-used-to it now – smartphones with a torchlight.
However, the night gives the perfect cover to the bad-mannered ones that can be found anywhere in the world. So while the whole village is sleeping in the dark until the morning, many things that are of essential value go missing – be it crops from the field, tools, or any other property of the already humble homes.
Facing so many problems because of the light missing, the dreams about having safe, well-lit streets in the village are big for the people living there.
KEREWAN SAMBA SIRA VILLAGE
We came across Kerewan Samba Sira village while researching a new location for a water well project in remote villages. During the discussion with Alkali (head of the village) Mr Mohammed Saidy and his brother Mr Yerro Saidy, we were informed that there are still many compounds that need their own water well, but fortunately, there is a community water well supplying water for the whole village. Intending to be helping more villagers in our projects, we received a plea for helping to light up the entire village instead.
Kerewan Samba Sira is a village more than 275 km away from the capital city of Banjul, and 100% of the residents are Muslims. Over a thousand people live within one hundred and seventy (175) compounds. The village has no electricity, and residents depend (only) on the moonlight at night.
The village is quite big and has a nursery, a primary school, and two mosques. Currently, the residents are also trying to build a health centre for the community.
The work, joy, sports and security in Kerewan Samba Sira end when the sun goes down. Without moonlight, it would be pitch dark and difficult to see the surroundings. Everyone would be confined to their homes, and their sense of security would fade with the fading of the sunlight. The lack of security in the darkness also relates to worries such as travelling on the roads, burglars, using the outdoor toilets after dark, etc.
Lighting in the village is a key step for rural economic development.
Public lighting grids can significantly impact rural communities living conditions and can help strengthen their economies. There is enough anecdotal evidence from people who describe how their lives have improved by being able to sell goods and services later into the night, being able to walk from places of work or worship home at night without fear of assault, being visible on previously unlit streets reducing the number of traffic accidents and a multitude of other benefits to justify installing street lighting.
Thousands of extra working hours will be added to the village economy by extending trading and working beyond daylight hours- that alone will positively impact the lives of hardworking villagers of Kerewan Samba Sira.
Installing solar lights is the most optimal and cheapest option to help them to have light in the streets and lives.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF LIGHTING UP THE KEREWAN SAMBA SIRA VILLAGE?
The most important is that you can bring untold happiness into the lives of hundreds of people, especially the little ones. They’re not asking for much, are they? Streetlights will make a world of difference in their lives.
Street lighting will improve the village’s economy and contribute to a development that will change people’s lives for the better in a very short time.
Safety and security will be highly improved the moment when solar lights are installed.
Better visibility will reduce the number of accidents and injuries involving all drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Solar power produces a clean and entirely renewable source of energy. It is a great alternative and a greener option for our environment as it contributes to lessening the greenhouse gases produced by the local power source. Moreover, solar lights are completely environmentally friendly as they reduce the carbon footprints created by non-renewable sources.
This power source requires minimal maintenance except changing the batteries every 5-25 years(depending on the batteries) and cleaning when they get dusty. Since Solar panels are installed outdoors with direct access to sunlight, they need cleaning from time to time to preserve their quality and functionality.
There’s no noise pollution involved, thus ensuring a peaceful village environment.
It is cost-effective as it involves an initial production and installation cost. Beyond that, solar energy is entirely free, and the panels can work for decades. Solar batteries last between 5 to 25 years on average, with lithium-ion batteries being the most prevalent type.
May this year’s Ramadan end in light, and hope for a better tomorrow for the inhabitants of Kerewan Samba Sira village.
When the village authorities were informed about the option of bringing the light to their community, their faces lit up, and they would already prepare the big celebration if they could!
Everyone should have the right to feel safe when the sun sets, and together we can end the darkness and show a ray of light to the people living in the dark in Kerewan Samba Sira village in The Gambia.
And yes, charity is something that brings benefits to both sides. The one giving is gifted with the feeling of happiness, as the one receiving shows gratitude. We are in the month of Ramadan. Most people in The Gambia currently observe a strict daily fast from dawn till sunset, deepening their gratitude and faith until the celebration day – Koriteh. Part of Ramadan is also giving charity. Sharing in The Gambia is something very genuine, and we can all learn from it. As the biggest Muslim holiday is approaching, the gift of the light would be the additional reason for the great celebration of the Kerewan Samba Sira village. If you find it in your heart to contribute to this meaningful project, we can make their village and faces lit together.
100 SOLAR LIGHTS:
100 POLLS: 2,300€
CURRENT DONATIONS: 3,000€
FUNDRAISING FOR 3,850€
Kerewan Samba Sira village will also be included in future sustainable and community-based tourism activities as well as volunteering programs (medical, education, agriculture, etc.)
BANK TRANSFER DETAILS:
Account Name: VOLUNTEER TRAILS – THE GAMBIA
Account Number (GMD): 6240037610
BBAN (GMD): 008201624003761074
Account Number (EUR): 6240037611
BBAN (EUR): 008201624003761171
Swift Code: ECOCGMGMXXX
Beneficiary Bank name: Ecobank Gambia Ltd.
Beneficiary Bank Address: 42 Kairaba Avenue, Serekunda – The Gambia.