Students make light work of helping out
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.
‘‘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.