Stu­dents make light work of help­ing out

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - TIM O'CON­NELL

Nel­son Col­lege Prepara­tory School has lit the way for bet­ter liv­ing and learn­ing by build­ing so­lar-panel lights for Pa­cific chil­dren in need.

So­larBuddy is an Aus­tralian­reg­is­tered charity whose mis­sion is to pro­vide safe and ef­fec­tive so­lar en­ergy to com­mu­ni­ties who suf­fer from the lim­it­ing ef­fects of en­ergy poverty.

As part of its Bud­dy2Buddy schools pro­gramme, the prep stu­dents were given the op­por­tu­nity to build a So­larBuddy light be­fore send­ing that light to a child in need, in the vil­lage of Lat­uan on Tanna Is­land.

The lights pro­vided one hour of il­lu­mi­na­tion for ev­ery hour of so­lar en­ergy charged.

Due to the after-ef­fects of Cy­clone Pam and a lack of gov­ern­ment fund­ing, Lat­uan has found it­self – like a lot of Van­u­atu schools – with no elec­tric­ity.

Nel­son Col­lege Prep pupil Vin­nie Thomp­son said he was keen to get in­volved in the project was so that kids from Van­u­atu could fi­nally have a source of light be­yond kerosene lamps, which could of­ten be haz­ardous.

‘‘If they’re burn­ing them over- night while they’re asleep the [lamps] might get ac­ci­den­tally knocked over,’’ he said.

The lights would also make evening vis­its to the toi­let less wor­ri­some, given the snakes in Van­u­atu, Thomp­son said.

On Tanna, cus­tom says that evil is em­bod­ied in the snake. While they aren’t poi­sonous, they can give you a nasty nip.

From an aca­demic per­spec­tive, Thomp­son said the so­lar buddy lamps would make do­ing home- work eas­ier.

Head teacher Richard Nott said the project was part of an in­class topic on re­new­able en­ergy and fu­ture fu­els. He said the boys had learnt to use their ed­u­ca­tion to help oth­ers.

TIM O’CON­NELL/ THE LEADER

‘‘If they're burn­ing them overnight while they're asleep the [lamps] might get ac­ci­den­tally knocked over’’

Vin­nie Thomp­son Nel­son Col­lege Prep stu­dents show off their So­larBuddy projects which will go to­wards light­ing up the vil­lage of Lat­uan on Tanna Is­land, Van­u­atu.

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