‘With your help, we are living a good life – we are very happy’ – Monitoring & Evaluation in Malawi

Image of 2 elderly Malawian women

 

Ritta and Dorica both lost their homes when floods destroyed their village in Chickwawa, Malawi. They lost their bedding, their farming tools and all of their food – everything but the clothes they were wearing.

Thankfully, we were able to provide them and their neighbours with ShelterBoxes filled with all of the essentials to replace what they’d lost, from a sturdy, family-sized tent to kitchen utensils and blankets.

One of the items they found particularly useful was the LuminAID solar light, which can last for up to 16 hours on one charge. The inflatable design means that it is waterproof, can float and is light enough for even a small child to carry.

In this video, we see the villagers receiving their LuminAIDs and learn how something as simple as a solar light makes such a difference to the lives of people like Ritta and Dorica:

 

 

You can help people like Ritta and Dorrica by donating here: PLEASE DONATE

7.5 Million Viewers For ShelterBox And LuminAID On ABC TV In US

Inventors of the Luminaid solar light inside a Shelterbx tents in Malawi, surrounded by glowing Luminaids

(L to R) Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta with ShelterBox and luminAIDs lightening the darkness of Malawi’s floods

ShelterBox was one of the earliest backers of luminAID, an innovative solar light that is proving an essential aid item in disaster zones. Its inventors, Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, travelled to Malawi with ShelterBox to see luminAID being used by flood victims, in a feature shown by ABC TV to its US viewers.

ShelterBox delivers aid all over the world, and occasionally radio and TV stations connect with its Response Teams, and newspapers and photojournalists cover its work in disasters and conflicts.

But rarely does ShelterBox have a shop window to an audience of 7.5 million. This happened last Friday on America’s ABC programme ‘Shark Tank’.

Architecture and engineering design graduates Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork first appeared on ‘Shark Tank’ in early 2015 seeking backing for their compact, waterproof solar-powered light named luminAID. The product was an instant hit, and with five offers on the table (a rare event on the Emmy award-winning programme) Andrea and Anna eventually cut a valuable deal with sports, movie and cable TV mogul, billionaire Mark Cuban.

As early as 2011 ShelterBox had spotted luminAID’s potential in disaster areas where power lines have gone down. Impressed with its weight, size and durability, the charity became an early investor, including the LED lights in its standard ShelterBox contents. 50 luminAID packages can fit into the same space that eight torches would occupy. Its unique inflatable diffuser makes it ideal in wet conditions such as floods and storms.

At the end of last year ‘Shark Tank’ broadcasters ABC were in contact with Alan Monroe of ShelterBox USA, interested in filming Andrea and Anna on deployment with ShelterBox. Arrangements were made for them to travel to Malawi the scene of massive floods in 2015 with hundreds of thousands of families displaced to see LuminAID in action, lightening the darkness for people who had lost all their possessions to floodwaters.

Alan Monroe hosted the deployment and ShelterBox videographer Liv Williams filmed the Malawi sequences within the episode, allowing us to produce broadcast quality footage in-house and on deployment for the the ABC network. It produced a very moving piece, with warm welcomes from smiling beneficiaries.

Rob Mills, ABC Television’s Senior Vice President of Alternative Series, Specials & Late Night, says, ‘Shark Tank thrives on discovering and supporting innovative businesses and products. It was a privilege to follow luminAID into the field and see it being used as part of an aid package by ShelterBox to help victims of flooding in Malawi, Africa. It is always good when there is a link between invention, investment and improving the lives of people in need.’

luminAID is a multi-award winner, including the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge, the 2014 Toyota ‘Mothers of Invention’, and a prize at the Chicago Innovation Awards. Last summer it was also featured in a White House showcase for technological and scientific achievements hosted by President Obama.

ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace says, ‘ShelterBox continually scans the market for products that will help families overwhelmed by disaster. luminAID is a very clever product, and we are pleased to have been among its earliest backers. I’m not at all surprised that Anna and Andrea won support on American Dragon’s Den, and we’ll be watching these young inventors to see what they come up with next.’

Watch ShelterBox on ABC’s Shark Tank here:


Read more about LuminAID here.

Brightening Lives – How A Simple Solar Light Makes A Real Difference

Image of ShelterBox relief tent at dusk with a Luminaid solar light hanging in the porch

 

The sun sets quickly in Malawi. There is little twilight and it gets dark all of a sudden. For many people living without regular access to electricity, this darkness is complete and can hold many dangers.

This is why we provided LuminAIDs to people who had lost their homes during the monsoon rains and floods that swept through the country almost a year ago. LuminAIDs are lightweight, inflatable solar lights that can provide up to 16 hours of light on just one charge and we pack them in every ShelterBox we send out.

William Namakoka and his family, from the Malawian district of Zomba, received help from ShelterBox when waist-deep floodwater completely destroyed their mud brick house.

It took four months for the waters to recede enough for the family to be able to move their ShelterBox tent to the site of their old house and to start picking up the routine of daily life again.

As the family save for the materials to be able to rebuild their home, the contents of the ShelterBox they received have become incredibly important to them, particularly the LuminAIDs.

 

William and Annie Namakoka in front of their ShelterBox tent in Zomba, Malawi

William and Annie Namakoka in front of their ShelterBox tent in Zomba, Malawi

William said: ‘As well as using the solar lights to work and cook by inside the tent, we also use them to guide the way to the toilet at night. There are snakes around and light helps us to avoid them and stay safe.’

William has built a pit latrine for the family using the tools provided inside his ShelterBox. In the dark, the journey from the tent to the latrine is full of many dangers. The monsoon months, from December to February, bring deadly snakes such as black mambas. Outdoor latrines and the rubble of destroyed homes like William’s provide the perfect place for mambas to nest.

The solar lights are also waterproof and float, so the family will still be able to have light even if the floodwaters return.

In the pitch black, these clever LuminAIDs not only have the ability to brighten someone’s life, but to safeguard them too.


People in Malawi receive LuminAID solar lights

We need your help to pack every ShelterBox with solar lights, to make sure that no family is left in the dark this winter. Please donate now.