Protecting the Powerless

A personal note from Renewable World trustee and vice chair Sarah Donnelly on the importance of distributing solar lighting in rural communities hit by the Nepal earthquake. 

I recently had a chat with Lata who runs our Nepal programme at Renewable World and I want to share something she told me that I wasn’t expecting to hear. We asked our rural communities how the money you gave to our earthquake appeal could best help them (short of rebuilding their homes which is not our remit). Their request was for portable solar lighting. I initially thought this was so they could see when they are cooking, or carrying out other household tasks or studying after dark. Yes the lights will be used for these activities. But the main reason they asked for them is to stop rape and child sex trafficking which have been rife after dark since the quake struck. That leaves me so horrified I’m speechless.

A high number of cases of abuse have been reported. Women and children feel vulnerable in their temporary accommodation, especially when they go out after dark, for example to use the toilets which are built away from their accommodation to prevent the spread of disease.

Our communities said they would feel safe from any oncoming assaults if they had access to portable lighting. I thought you would like to know your donations to Renewable World are helping to protect these vulnerable women and children. So thank you again to all those who contributed to the amazing £27,605 raised so far!