Solar Buddy | Energy Poverty – Year Five are illuminating lives through the gift of light

Solar Buddy | Energy Poverty – Year Five are illuminating lives through the gift of light

Equitable access to energy resources is a global responsibility

Year Five boys at the Junior School have been inquiring into the equitable distribution of energy resources through our unit ‘Sharing the Planet.’ Their understanding of energy poverty was ignited whilst reading the text ‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ by William Kamkawamba. Delving deeper into the inquiry, they learnt that 100% of Australia’s population has access to electricity, whereas Malawi’s access to electricity is less than 10%. The boys were shocked to learn that 1 in 5 people globally live with the devastating effects of energy poverty. They then wondered how they could possibly make a difference.

We organised for the boys to engage in the SolarBuddy programme. SolarBuddy is an Australian charity uniting a global community with a big dream to give six million solar lights to children living in energy poverty by 2030, in the hope that these lights would help them to study after dusk and improve their educational outcomes. So far they have gifted over 130,000 lights in 18 countries to children in need. During the programme, the boys listen to Magdelene from SolarBuddy, who shared her expertise on the topic and talked about the importance of the programme in changing young lives. The boys then got to work making their solar lights with great enthusiasm. Once completed, they wrote individualised letters to their new solar buddy telling them a little bit about themselves, a message of encouragement and how they hope their new light will help.

Our students were able to gain a better understanding of what it means to be a global citizen and give back to people and communities who need our help. We focused on the statement “think globally, act locally” and it was great to see that in action.

The SolarBuddy activities were fun, and we were able to help people less fortunate that us. Learning about communities living in energy poverty allowed me to have empathy for their situation. Working on this project made me feel like I was being a global citizen because I was able to make a difference to people around the world – Dominic Lowe 5C

I learned that even a small thing can bring light to someone’s life – Allan Shaba 5T

If you would like more information on SolarBuddy access the following link –

Miriam Cross, Alanna Tone, Jacqueline Bradfield | Year Five Classroom Teachers

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