Charles – an Energy Pioneer

For most of his life, Charles had been a fisherman. Every day of every week, he would go out on to the Lake and catch what he could in order to provide for him and his family.

In his village of Ng’ore, life was hard. Households had no electricity and fishermen earned little income. Yet in Ng’ore, almost all income was linked to fishing. It is no wonder then that Charles became a fisherman; he had no other options.

On the Lake at night, and in his home during the mornings and evenings, Charles would burn kerosene lamps for light. This expensive fuel pollutes the environment when burned and its toxic fumes cause numerous health problems. Charles’ wife and children were particularly vulnerable as they spent more time at home cooking, cleaning and studying.

In 2015, this all changed. We installed an Energy Hub in Ng’ore, and Charles and his family had access to electricity for the first time.

Charles saw the opportunity to change his life. He gave up fishing and volunteered to help with the Energy Hub, receiving training to become the community technician. This job gave him a small and steady income. When his home started to receive electricity after being connected to the Energy Hub, Charles set up a business of his own.

The electricity he is now able to access is used to charge mobile phones and power a television, which acts as a community cinema. With the money from this, Charles has invested in a motorbike and is now running a taxi service for the residents of Ng’ore.

Before the Energy Hub came here, I was a fisherman. But since it came I got electricity, and I now run a small business. I charge phones, I can charge 30 phones per day, for 20 shillings per phone. In the evenings I show films and I charge a small fee and can make 400-500 shillings a day from this. This has changed my life.

Kerosene is no longer burnt in Charles’ house, his wife has stopped working and has returned to education, and his two children walk to school in brand new shoes and uniforms.

Most people admire me, they think I have got a donor from somewhere, I tell them this is my donor [pointing to the Energy Hub]”.

Find out more about our Lake Victoria Appeal and how you can help more people like Charles have access to clean energy.

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