Solar Powered Solutions

Some of the 36 children benefitting from the solar project.

Some of the 36 children benefitting from the solar project.

The first thing most of us do in the mornings and the last thing we do at night is flip a switch. Yet, we very rarely put much thought into how much this modern convenience improves our lives. With the flip of a switch we can eat, read, walk to the bathroom at night and put to rest our fears if we hear a strange noise.  For 36 children in Rajamundry, India, this is something they’ll be able to have for the very first time. And some added bonuses? It will be through the sustainable energy of solar power, so it won’t negatively impact the environment. Additionally, since the home doesn’t have electricity, they can save the money they would be spending on having traditional electricity installed and on those monthly electrical bills. And those savings can get passed onto providing the children with the best care, access to nutrition and educational needs.

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The exterior of the children’s home.

This year, we were fortunate enough to visit India and the LAMP home for the second time, where these kids live. One thing we realized is that the home was in need of some repairs, which they could not afford. One of the things they needed was to have their roof reinforced. The good news is that the roof construction is now complete, thanks to a private donor working with Kitechild. The roof is now strong enough to support the solar lighting installation, which means that the children will now have a better roof to live under, as well as electricity.

Construction is underway at the LAMP home.

Construction is underway at the LAMP home.

The lighting installation consists of a total of six lights- three indoor and three outdoor lights. The indoor lights ensure that the kids will be able to do schoolwork during the evenings, which will improve their learning and potential performance in school. We all know how important education is to future opportunities, and the indoor lights can be a stepping stone to helping these children break the cycle of poverty. The outdoor lights are also really important, as they will keep the home safe and secure after the sun sets. The home is located in the northeast jungle of Andra Pradesh, near Rajahmundry. The area around the home has snakes and other potential hazards, so the safety of the children will improve with the outdoor lights and will help to eliminate injuries by improving visibility.

One of the children living at the LAMP home.

One of the children living at the home.

Here’s a little background on this home, as there are often misconceptions and misinformation about children’s homes. 36 children reside at the home, 20 of whom are true orphans, in the sense that they have no parents to care for them. The other sixteen are children whose families are living with extreme poverty, which makes it difficult for them to provide for their children. Through the home, the children have three meals everyday, are able to attend school and are under the care of long-term caretakers, who live with them at the LAMP home. The families of these children visit them whenever they are able. We’re hoping through this solar light project that these children will be one step closer to rising above poverty and will one do be able to provide for themselves and their families.

Some of the 36 children living at the LAMP home in India.

Some of the children living at the LAMP home in India.

Lighting Up The LAMP Home

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We are proud to announce a new solar light project in India. The project begins by reinforcing the roof of the children’s home and then by installing solar lights, 3 of which will be outdoors and 3 will be indoors. This home does not currently have electricity, so these lights will be a real life-changer for the 36 children living there. By having indoor lighting, the children will be able to do their homework in the evenings and the outside lights will make the grounds a more secure and safe place to live. To learn more about this project and to invest in the solar light installation, please click here.

Follow Your Dreams This Week

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“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.” This Monday Motivation comes from the Little Prince. We try to live out the lessons that story teaches: to love others, to follow your dreams and to let your heart be your guide. 

Paid Parental Leave Now a Reality in SF

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Photo: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

San Francisco is now the first city in the US to mandate paid parental leave. We’re hoping this is a sign of things to come. Parental leave is really important to the quality of life and for giving people agency over their family-planning choices. This new law applies to all families, regardless of gender or whether they are adoptive parents. It’s a big step towards equality that will help parents not have to make the choice between losing their job or having a child. Read more!

Inspiration for Education

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“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” This Motivation Monday quote comes from former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Instilling the love of reading and school can open the world for any child, regardless of what circumstance they are currently in. Let’s dedicate this week to promoting education for all children!

 

Better Data Is Needed on Vulnerable Children

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Photo: Lumos

As an organization working with vulnerable children around the world, one of the major obstacles we encounter is the lack of reliable data on children in many countries. When dealing with children living in orphanages or outside the home, information is sparse, and yet so vital to making meaningful change. Accurate information is needed to best serve the needs of these vulnerable children, and there is now a movement urging the UN to make sure these children are included in the statistical map. Read the open letter from JK Rowling’s foundation Lumos and support fixing the data gap on vulnerable children: http://goo.gl/OEB5CB

 

Looking Into Foster Care through the Foster Parent Diary

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Illustration by Abigail Gray Swartz

 

Meghan Moravcik Walbert writes for The New York Times series “Foster Parent Diary,” which chronicles her experience being a foster parent to a 4 year old boy. Walbert calls her foster child “BlueJay,” to protect his privacy, as she writes about the joy and heartbreak that accompanies her family’s journey. BlueJay is just one of the approximately 800,000 children that encounter the foster care system every year in America. Walbert lets us see into her life and BlueJay’s, which is currently up in the air, as the family is unsure if he will continue to live with them. Read the latest installment: http://goo.gl/DU8zlv

Light Your Path with Education

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“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” -William Butler Yeats

Our motivation to start the week is to focus on education. We know that knowledge is the key to rising out of poverty and bringing opportunities to vulnerable children. This week, remember to light that fire.

Progress at Ashirvad

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Our chicken project in India is continuing to make progress. Some of the chickens are now almost three months old and should be laying eggs soon. This project works to improve the nutritional and educational needs of the 79 children living at Ashirvad Home. How does it work? These chickens are sold in the market and the profits pay for fresh fruit and also fund computers and a teacher for the children. 

Juvenile Justice Act Now In Effect

Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson. Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Indian Parliament recently passed changes to the Juvenile Justice Act in India, to include legislation that will help better protect children. Now there are specific criminal offenses for child trafficking and the usage of children in begging, drug trade or violent crimes. Also, the new law cracks down on the regulation of children’s homes, working to end the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable children living in these institutions. Nobel Peace Prize winner and child activist Kailash Satyarthi spoke out in favor of the law, but said it would require political and financial support to be effective. Although much good could come of this, the new laws are not without criticisms, including that the act will have harsher sentencing for minors. Read more: goo.gl/aSblC6