Humedica distributes solar lamps to refugees
People in Melkadida lack a great many things. Civil war, drought and the escape across the Somali border to Ethiopia have left a mark on many refugees. The one thing they have in abundance, however, is: Sun. What is the cause of the harsh living conditions on the one hand, brings advantages on the other hand. The conditions for the use of solar energy are perfect. The people can light their houses with simple lamps and recharge mobile phones.
Humedica has therefore already distributed solar lamps on numerous occasions.
The principle is quite simple. A small solar cell is connected to a lamp via a cable. After a short charging period under the scorching Melkadida sun, the weather-proof lamp suffices for lighting a small house. Mobile phones or radios can also be recharged this way. The simplicity is convincing – the solar cells can already be seen on many roofs in Melkadida. Therefore, it is not surprising that the people flock in droves to the distributions made by Humedica.
In the case of such free distributions, there will always remain the question whether the relief supplies are actually used. I have therefore made house visits and talked to the recipients – the feedback was extremely positive. Nurtar, for example, proudly shows her lamp during the visit. “I am thrilled and use it a great deal”, she says. She is 28 years old and has been in Melkadida for 2 years now. Together with her husband, she fled the war from Mogadishu. An arduous journey, since her left leg is stiff after a bullet wound. She had to leave two children and her mother behind. “The solar lamp also helps me to cope. I recharge our mobile phone with it and so from time to time I have the opportunity to phone my children in the neighbouring village”, she explains clearly moved.
Osman has also been given a solar lamp. The 40-year-old Somali was paralysed after an accident. As sitting is also not possible, he lies the whole day on a thin wooden bed in his house in the camp. He has been here for about a year. He fled with a donkey cart from Somalia together with his wife and two children and arrived completely exhausted in Melkadida after 10 days. Great many things are also lacking here. As he cannot go to work, the family is entirely dependent on relief aid. The solar lamp enables him to light his house free of charge. As he has no money for batteries or a torch. “I am delighted that we can light our house in such a simple manner”, he says.
During these visits, a further problem becomes clear. The firewood is in short supply. The refugees already travel long distances to find wood. The prices for firewood have increased sharply during the last few months. Many refugees are starting to sell the distributed food to get cash for firewood. Initial consideration is being given to also solve this problem with solar energy and distribute suitable stoves to the refugees. But for that we need further support. We first need to find out which stoves are suitable for use in the surrounding area. These are the challenges facing us over the next few months.