Amara is 13 years old. She lives in Neuva Ecija, Philippines. Amara dreams of being a doctor when she grows up. She studies hard but “suffers from chronic headaches and eye-aches due to the excessive gas and exhaust generated from [oil lamps].”
Amara’s story is similar to that of many children in developing regions of the world. With no electricity, villages like Amara’s rely on oil lamps for light. However the fumes from the burning oil have caused lung disease and ocular discomfort and sometimes degeneration. But, as challenging as the physical problems from the exhaust may be, many families cannot even afford the cost of the oil and lamps. These families are forced to live their evenings in darkness.
Amara’s story, and others like hers sparked the All-Lights Villages project in Korea. It began simply: to bring light to the dark corners of the world.
One light can begin to break the cycle of poverty. Children can complete school work, the family’s health improves, and communities can make economic progress through extending work hours beyond the setting sun.
GPF-Korea has developed partnerships with Korean businesses, corporations and individuals Children can complete school work with All-Lights VIllage Project.to bring solar powered lamps to rural communities without electricity.
The project has expanded, and has now included the voice of local communities. Filipino All-Lights Chairman, Dr. Primitivo Chua said, “In the past, our Korean friends have been helping us establish the first villages; we believe that this is the time for us to show our ownership, and hope that our local supporters who have genuine concern for our Filipino brothers and sisters can lend their helping hands to support.”
All-Lights Villages in the Philippines has four comprehensive steps for village development:
- Solar Powered Lamps help each family reduce illiteracy, improve health and foster economic development
- Multipurpose Halls funded by oversea sponsors are built at the center of the villages as a place to house education programs and livelihood training. GPF-Philippines has been partnering with the Department of Education to host Alternative Learning Systems at these halls to make education accessible to residents of remote villages. In addition, livelihood classes, in skills such as soap making, husbandry and sewing have imparted economy to people who have not traditionally been involved in economic production like women and elderly.
- Through providing training and initial start-up material like goats and chickens, Alllights Villages are developing agricultural opportunities and provide the community with sustainable economic development.
- The agricultural programs are strengthening the economic climate and a sense of ownership within the village communities. Of the monies generated through new livelihood initiatives, 40% is invested into village development.
To date, All-Lights Villages has expanded its reach to Indonesia, Nepal, Uganda, Kenya, Mongolia and Paraguay.
All-Lights Villages began with the simple wish to bring light to the dark parts of the world, but has developed into a foundation for sustainable economic, human and social development.