News

Unite to Light, the nonprofit founded by ECE Prof. John Bowers, featured in The UCSB Current article “Guiding Light”

December 20th, 2017

unite to light logo
Unite to Light to ship 9,000 solar lights to Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees – the distribution effort with RTM International, a Bangladesh-based NGO, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will prioritize midwives, pregnant women and new mothers

“Unite to Light is very fortunate to work with our partner organizations to send lights to those who need them the most,” said Bowers, who holds the Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology — and who also created the solar-powered LED devices. “They have the connections on the ground to ensure that the lights reach those who really need them.”

RTM purchased the first 8,000 solar lights for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Unite to Light itself is donating an additional 1,000 through its “buy one, give one” program, and direct donations.

“Unite to Light is focused on getting light to those who could not otherwise afford it: children learning to read and study after dark, midwives and health clinics and disaster response,” said Megan Birney, executive director of Unite to Light. “Supplying solar lights to midwives, refugees and new mothers falls squarely into our mission of providing tools for those in need so that they may have a better opportunity to survive and thrive.”

By all accounts, this particular tool is most welcome and deeply appreciated. On receiving a Clean Delivery Kit — solar light included — after a prenatal checkup at a camp-based health facility, Sabekun told a midwife, “I felt so afraid and uncertain this morning, but now I feel more at peace. I feel reassured, I’m glad I came.”

By the close of 2017, Unite to Light in total will have shipped 21,000 solar lamps this year. The organization since its founding in 2011 has distributed over 90,000 lights to 65 countries, including Ghana, South Africa, Haiti and Peru.

The UCSB Current – "Guiding Light" (full article)

Unite to Light

Bowers' COE Profile