Friday, January 30, 2009
Students from around the world have started a campaign to raise funds to provide each family in the Gaza strip with solar powered room lighting. Begun by University students from Egypt , India , Mexico and Bethlehem who are members of Engineers Without Borders - International - (www.ewb-international.org) this rapidly expanding grass roots effort aims to push back the darkness, after the destruction of much of Gaza electrical distribution infrastructure during the recent 22 days of fighting. With the majority of the 1.3 million inhabitants of Gaza fearfully waiting out the nights without light, or forced to use candles or makeshift kerosene lanterns for illumination, lighting is often overlooked as a vital part in alleviating humanitarian suffering and allowing families to regain a minimal quality of life.
Amer Rabayah, the student leader of EWB-I, Palestine, based in Bethlehem, notes, "We had, absolutely had, to do something to reach out and help the people of Gaza and the best way to accomplish this is to partner with other international organizations to get solar lights into Gaza, to help with medical emergencies in the night and to provide some light, and hope, to the people in darkness. With the help and support of Professor Bernard Amadei, the co-founder of EWB-I, based in Colorado and others individuals and groups around the world, we can make this dream become a reality."
Partnering with International Relief and Development (www.ird-dc.org) for distribution and a Houston based firm, SunNight Solar, (www.sunnightsolar.com), to provide the solar lights, this effort has launched a website - www.LightsForGaza.com to consolidate their efforts.
Mark Bent, a former US diplomat under the Clinton Administration and the founder of SunNight Solar offers, "This endeavor is exactly what President Obama is repeating over and over again in his public comments and speeches - service to others, humanitarian efforts over war and building global alliances with an international focus in efforts to reach out to people in need. With Secretary of State Clinton voicing the need to have 'smart power' as a cornerstone of US foreign policy, student efforts such as the LightsForGaza campaign are leading the way and we are honored and pleased to respond positively to this request to provide our solar lighting products to the people of Gaza".
To donate or join this effort, please see www.LightsForGaza.com. This is a non-partisan, non-political, non-religious endeavor and we welcome all who share our goal to light Gaza.