Karibujua: Connecting People Through Kindness from Italy to Kenya

March 2017

Can you see the beauty of light after the sun goes down? Can you feel the warmth of another’s care from across the world?

The Karibujua project connects people in Italy with communities in the Lower Tana Delta region of Kenya who are living without electricity. The Italian association Karibujua runs multiple volunteer led education projects in rural villages across the sparsely populated north-east region of Kenya. The projects include building nurseries, implementing new conservation, art and stewardship education programmes, sponsoring students from primary through to secondary school level, and providing solar lamps for children to study at night.

The Lower Tana Delta region is mainly inhabited by the Orma and the Pokomo tribes. The living conditions are basic; people live in huts made of mud and leaves, clothes are washed in the river, and the daily activity is mostly centred around obtaining food. The communities rely heavily on agricultural farming, and the level of poverty is high in the region. Often children have to work in the fields or take care of the animals in order to help their family. Luckily, the majority of the children have the opportunity to attend their local primary school, as there is one in every village.

Through the #LightUpYourAfrica project Little Sun lamps are being distributed by Karibujua volunteers to families in need of light after dark. Every time someone sponsors a family with a Little Sun, Karibujua adds a personal greeting card from the sponsor to the recipient, and sends a picture of each delivery back to the person who donated the lamp. In October 2016 Karibujua started the distribution of the “adopted” lamps throughout the 14 villages of the Lower Tana Delta Conservancy. The personal touch given to the distribution process reinforces the feeling that there is a global bind of generosity, empathy, and care, and that we are all  #ConnectedByTheSun.

Children receive the lamps so that they can study in the evening, and as a reward for working hard at school. For example, In 2011 Karibujua first met Mustafa, a lively 7-yr-old who didn’t go to class too regularly because his father believed it was more important for him to become a good fisherman rather than a good student. When Karibujua revisited Mustafa in 2016,  he was the 4th best student in his class, and his teachers said that he still skipped school now and again (to go fishing!) Karibujua volunteers encouraged Mustafa to be more dedicated to his studies. By January 2017 Mustafa was the best student in the class, and was given his own Little Sun as a reward!

As well as motivating children to study, and lighting families’ homes at night, Little Suns are guiding the way for park rangers, who are working hard to protect nature reserves. After many years of campaigning, the Lower Tana Delta was finally officially recognized as a conservancy. 12 rangers take care of the protected land and wildlife, patrolling at night to control poaching activities and to seek out squatters. Each ranger has been provided with a Little Sun solar lamp to guide their way in the dark.

Check out Karibujua, and contact Eva, head of humanitarian projects at Little Sun, for more information on how you can support solar: eva@littlesun.com