How we can all help, Village by Village?
At the Solar Light Company we are proud that our products are used far and wide, particularly when it is for a good cause. Among others, we support the charity Village by Village which recently received some of our lights – some purchased and some as a gift from us – so that children in the most remote and hard to reach villages in Africa can study at night.
We take for granted that when the sun goes down it doesn’t mean we need to stop, but for others even the smallest electric light can be absolutely invaluable. Village by Village works tirelessly to achieve their mission to ‘reduce the needless suffering and deaths of children living in poverty in remote, rural African villages’, using a huge variety of methods and skills. The charity, which survives on donations and volunteers, recently also started its own smallholding in an attempt to become self-sufficient during the Ebola outbreak when fewer volunteers were prepared to travel to West Africa. The new farming project aims to produce extra income to fund the charity’s projects.
Village by Village began with the clear goal of reducing needless childhood deaths from preventable causes. Causes which most of us in the Northern hemisphere no longer need to fear for our children. Sanitation and health education plays a large role in the charity’s activities, including its “Clean Hands Save Lives” initiative, which teaches school children about the importance of cleanliness before and after use the toilet and before eating.
The charity is involved in education from the ground up, from building schools and libraries to providing scholarships to members of the poorest villages. Although school is free to children under 18 in Ghana, for example, often families — particularly larger ones — cannot afford to provide the clothing, uniform or shoes needed for a child to attend school. This is where scholarships from Village by Village can help.
Further ongoing projects by the charity include empowering girls — ensuring that they have the same opportunities as boys to receive an education and to reduce the number of childhood pregnancies — and digging wells to ensure that villagers have access to clean and safe drinking water; another luxury that we often take for granted.
So how can we all help Village by Village? Our providing lights to the charity is only a small gesture, what they really need is volunteers and donations to ensure that they can continue carrying out their life-saving work. Many of these volunteers are gap year students who can enjoy the experience of a lifetime in parts of Africa tourists will never see. But you don’t have to be a student to get involved. The charity offers two to four week volunteer stints in construction, teaching, sports, healthcare, farming, cooking and photography. In the run up to your trip you will be required to raise some funding, but that can be anything from a fun run to a pub quiz.
If you are interested in finding out how you can get involved with Village by Village please visit their website here. Alternatively if you know of someone who may be thinking of a Gap Year project this might be the one for them so please send them this article.