MDC Students Raise Money To Buy Solar Lanterns For Kids In Kenya

Throughout rural Kenya, children doing homework often rely on a dangerous and expensive kerosene lamp as their only source of light.  

Several Miami Dade College students are hoping to making those children’s lives a little brighter.

This year, the MDC’s Earth Ethics Institute, and the Institute for CiviC Engagement and Democracy  launched a Solar Lanterns for Learning project.

The project, an online fundraising campaign called “sponsor a student,” aims to raise money for the nonprofit organizationSustainable Development For Allcreated by Evans Wadongo, a Kenya native, who found himself struggling to do his homework as a child because of the lack of light available at night.

When Wadongo was 19 he create an inexpensive solar powered LED lantern to replace kerosene lamps. He has built and distributed more than 14,000 lanterns to children and their families around rural areas in Kenya for free.

The “sponsor a student” project has also had success. Since the website debuted this past spring, the project has raised enough money to sponsor more than 30 students with lanterns. The cost to sponsor a student is $30.

“Simple solutions can change people’s lives immediately,” said Colleen Ahern-Hettich, the MDC Director of the EEI regarding the Solar Lanterns for Learning project.

In addition, the MDC Kendall Campus  Y.E.S. club, which stands for Yes! for Environmental Stability, organized a fundraiser called “Ken-ya Keep Up?” to raise awareness about the project, and emphasize the importance of inexpensive renewable energy. The group raised more than $300 to help sponsor ten students.

“It was really awesome to see students take part in the project. They did a bake sale and even made bracelets from recycled magazines” said Angelica Alvarez, an EEI Program Assistant regarding the Ken-Ya Keep Up project. “And it was really nice when they received a picture of the students they sponsored with their new lamps.”

For more information or to sponsor a kid , go to: or call 305-237-3796 or 305-237-3848.