115 Bondi Junction primary school students will be guided by volunteers from the Origin Foundation to build solar powered lights, providing new learning opportunities for children living in Papua New Guinea in energy poverty.
38% of children under the age of eight in PNG can’t read or write, due in part to lack of access to lighting after dark. Without the opportunity to study, a child’s education stagnates and they are unable to develop the skills necessary to break the cycle of poverty.
The SolarBuddy workshop at Holy Cross Primary School will form part of the school’s STEM programs to inspire a passion for social justice and foster real-life connections between students’ learning and the importance of STEM skills in our society.
The program is designed to build interest in STEM careers and introduce the power of STEM to make a humanitarian impact. Research has shown that this is particularly powerful for encouraging women into STEM careers in the future
Students will write letters to students from villages in PNG to accompany their ‘solar buddy’ light.
Holy Cross Primary School Principal Ms Louise Minogue said: “With the help of volunteers from the Origin Foundation, Holy Cross students have been given an innovative learning opportunity to build solar lights for children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) who don't have access to electricity.
“With close alignment to our STEM learning program and our commitment to social justice initiatives, these SolarBuddy solar lights will help children living in energy poverty to continue studying long after the sun goes down improving their education outcomes and overall health and wellbeing.
Ruth Lee, Origin Foundation volunteering program manager added: “With the introduction of SolarBuddy lights, children in PNG are studying 78% longer and reliance on kerosene and other dangerous fuels has been reduced by 80%. Since these fuels are also the single biggest expenditure for households, that money can now be spent on food and health and education.
“Since August last year, the Origin Foundation has worked with Australian students – running the SolarBuddy program with 55 schools across six States, resulting in almost 2000 solar lights for school children living without electricity across PNG, giving them a pathway to a brighter future.”