Many of us have never used a kerosene lamp, and we think of them now as outdated, unsafe, or only something we would read about in books. The use of kerosene lanterns, however, is a part of normal life for many families living in rural Kenya where a lack of electricity can present great challenges to even basic survival. Our World in Data estimates there are 940 million people who lack access to electricity. These numbers represent millions of individuals living in poverty, including Felix Nyaleso, who is a beneficiary of the work of Children with Disabilities Fund International (CDFI) in Kenya.
Felix is seven years old, the youngest of five siblings, and lives with Down syndrome. His parents both perform odd jobs to make a living, opportunities for which were made nearly impossible during Covid pandemic shut downs. Until recently, Felix’s family used a kerosene lamp with a matchbox to light their home at night. These kerosene lamps are common in rural Kenya, but they are expensive, as much of the family’s meager income must be spent on kerosene and matches to light the lamps. In addition to being expensive, kerosene can be very unsafe, as high levels of soot and chemicals are leached out into the home. With much of the Nyaleso family’s income going towards kerosene and matches, little was left for basic necessities for the family, let alone to meet Felix’s needs, which are far more complex.
Recently, through donor contributions, CDFI was been able to purchase solar lights not only for Felix’s family, but for each of the more than 200 families in CDFI’s program in rural Kenya. All of these families have at least one child with special needs. The solar lights only require 1 hour of sunlight in order to provide 8 hours of light. By providing these solar lights to families like Felix’s, CDFI is able to relieve some financial burden, positively impact the health of the child and family, and enable parents and caregivers to effectively attend to their disabled child during nighttime hours.
To learn more about Children with Disabilities Fund International, please visit www.thecdfi.org