Scouts Australia, SolarBuddy.Org join together to build solar lights for communities with less access to light
By now, you will have already heard about how the World Organization of Scout Movement (WOSM) has signed up to help the United Nations (UN) make the world a better place for everyone through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Scouts are actively making a contribution to the SDGs through WOSM’s newest global initiative, Scouts for SDGs .
Scouts who attended the 25th Australian Scout Jamboree in South Australia truly demonstrated their role as Messengers of Peace and contributed to making the world a better place for everyone. The project directly contributed to at least four SDGs -- Goal 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), Goal 4 (Quality Education), Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and Goal 17 (Partnership for Global Development).
Goal 17 is all about partnerships, and the project was a culmination of a yearlong effort working with not-for-profit Australian charity SolarBuddy.Org . The construction of 2,000 solar lights during the Jamboree was the culmination of over 4,000 hours of effort in fundraising, developing and delivering the programme. For every light, it is estimated it will help at least five members of a community. Over 10,000 people are expected to benefit from the project.
Each of the solar lights will be distributed to a child in neighbouring countries. For this project, the solar lights will be sent directly to communities in Papua New Guinea with little or no access to light. The solar lights are expected to have a positive effect on improving the education, health and living standards for the people in communities who receive them.
The programme was developed and was being delivered by Australian Rover Scout, Sorrel Fuller, 23, as part of her community development project towards her Baden-Powell Scout Award and Scouts of the World Award.
The hands-on activity encourages the Scouts to learn about the UN SDGs and how they relate to the Scout Promise and Law. The Scout Law is a set of values for us to live by to help us all be better people - so pretty similar to the SDGs.
Sorrel said she had found the project extremely rewarding because they will be creating significant impact in communities, and at the same time, they will be able to educate the Scouts about environmentally sustainable projects.
“When we were delivering the programme, we could really see that it was an instant hit for many Scouts and Scout Leaders. They were all very happy because they were able to make a different with one little light,” Sorrel added.
After the lights were assembled, the Scouts were asked to write a letter for the would-be recipients, telling them their experiences and the things that they’ve learned while soldering the solar lights. The Scouts really liked the combination of building the lights and knowing that the lights will be going to kids in other countries, and by extension, possibly contributing to improving the lives of the recipients.
Chloe, 14, said building a light meant a lot to her, especially so that the solar lights will be distributed to other kids as well.
“I hope this light will help you a lot and bring some joy and love into your lives,” Chloe wrote.
Edward, also 14 and a Scout from the Australian Capital Territory, said he hoped his light would help brighten the future of his recipient and help make their dreams come true.
(With reports from Kate Lehane, Branch Commissioner – STEM (ACT Branch), Scouts Australia)