SUNDERLAND football club is set to light up the lives of children in Africa who do not have access to electricity.
The club is funding 100 solar lamps which will replace dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps in rural homes.
The donation is the start of a partnership between the club and new charity the Nuru Fund – set up by Sunderland housing group Gentoo.
According to the Nuru Fund, more children under the age of five are killed by inhaling kerosene fumes every year than by Malaria. Inhaling the fumes is the equivalent of smoking 40 cigarettes a day, it says.
But many people have no choice, if they are to study or work because 85 per cent of the population has no access to electricity.
Pupil Mariam Mawila says her lamp has helped with her school work and her eyes are no-longer painful.
“It is helping me study a lot more, I enjoy that and I am trying hard in my classes,” she said.
“Now I can finish every piece given to me. Before, I struggled and often I’d hand things in late or not at all.
“I offer the light to the rest of my class and have started putting my lamp into the classroom.
“After dinner we catch up with homework and work together.”
Through the partnership the Nuru Fund hopes to use Sunderland AFC’s connections in Africa to help other vulnerable communities.
SAFC commercial director Gary Hutchinson said: “The Nuru Fund is an amazing project, which is making a real and tangible difference to the lives of young people in Africa.
“SAFC has worked closely with Gentoo for a number of years and we are delighted to be able to help them promote and develop this hugely worthwhile project, using our increasingly growing presence and knowledge in Africa.”
The charity offers small loans to allow rural households in Africa to purchase solar powered lamps which also have the capacity to charge mobile phones.
Replacing kerosene lamps with solar power is estimated to save households between ten and 25 per cent of their income.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the Nuru Fund and we look forward to seeing the benefits the partnership with SAFC will bring,” Gentoo chief executive Peter Walls added.
“Together, we can make a real difference and improve people’s health and education. It’s just the right thing to do.”
So far the Nuru Fund has run a pilot, providing solar lamps to a girls’ boarding school in Tanzania.
Visit www.nurufund.com for details.