Ancient Tradition Meets Solar Technology with The Yemen Lantern

December 2020

Our CEO John Heller introduces a unique new partnership joining artisans in Yemen and the power of solar.

Several decades of instability have led to severe political and ecological crises in Yemen, resulting in millions of citizens becoming internally displaced and many others living in poverty. This has also affected the work of craftspeople who can no longer access or afford raw materials essential to their livelihoods.

Two organizations have stepped up to support local artisans and farmers in Yemen: warfair, based in Denmark, and The Yemen Journey, a Yemeni-Danish partnership, work to assist producers in war-affected countries in distributing their goods to other parts of the world, bringing money and jobs back into local communities.

Their products are as diverse as saffran and sesame, woven baskets and coffee beans, and now the beautiful Yemen lantern.

When we heard about the lantern, we saw an opportunity to support this traditional art form with a completely new, solar-powered dimension

While the lanterns are traditionally lit using candles, our partners have produced a limited number of lanterns powered by solar. When you purchase either of the lantern designs from our shop, you will receive the lantern and the Little Sun Diamond together, ready to install in your home or garden, or to share as a unique gift. 

Solar energy holds so many exciting possibilities for our future, especially in terms of affordable, clean and renewable energy that could one day power the world. The integration with the Yemen lantern is a wonderful reminder that solar technology can also fuse with — and even revive — traditions that originated long ago. In effect, solar powers much more than homes: It powers art, culture, livelihoods and hope. 

Each lantern is the result of generations of Yemeni artisans perfecting their work. Sometimes entire families are involved in their creation, like the family of Khalid Yahya, who you can find out more about in the video below, produced by The Yemen Journey. This year’s collaboration resulted in the hiring of ten additional craftspeople, who worked together to produce these spectacular lights.

With the addition of the Little Sun Diamond solar lamp, the story of the lantern takes on another important facet. There are over 1 billion people living without steady energy access throughout the world. Each sale of any Little Sun product helps us to provide lamps, train sales agents to distribute solar products, and develop local economies through entrepreneurship for those living off-grid. 

That means that your purchase of the Yemen Lantern has far-reaching effects, from the talented silversmiths in Sana’a like Khalid Yahya, to families living in rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. 

These dazzling lamps remind us that light is not only a practical tool, but also a source of magic, wonder and warmth. With winter upon us, there is no better time to share the gift of light by purchasing a Yemen lantern. Its delicate, cheerful light connects so many stories, from Yemen’s artisans to those who benefit from solar energy all over the world. We hope these lanterns will become part of your holiday tradition, and your holiday story, for many years to come.

— John Heller, CEO Little Sun

Explore the Yemen Lantern designs:


Photo credits: The Yemen Journey