Direct Relief continues to be one of our primary distribution partners for disaster and medical aid across the world. In 2019 Unite to Light donated over 300 Solar Chargers and 500 Luke Lights through Direct Relief to Fiji, El Salvador, Syria, Cambodia, Peru and Haiti -- among other locations. These lights have aided people coping with fires, floods, wars and have gone to hospitals, first responders and individuals in need.
Some of these lights were paid for by people who gave directly to the cause through our online page but most were generated through our Buy One, Give One (BOGO) program: for every light or charger we sell, we donate one to a person in need. This BOGO program generates thousands of lights and chargers every year that we get to send to our partners doing important work around the world.
With trusted partners, like Direct Relief, we know that our products are getting to the people who need them the most. One project that doesn’t get a lot of media attention is the ongoing crisis in Syria. Direct Relief is working with the Syrian American Medical Society to equip medical professionals to aid victims of the conflict including the more than 11 million refugees. To read more about Direct Relief’s work in Syria, see these articles.
Peru has also been a recipient of our donations; first in response to disastrous 2017 floods and, more recently, in response to the fires in the Amazon. Through the Asociacion Vida Peru, Direct Relief is providing medical care to the people impacted by these fires. The fires are causing respiratory ailments, as well as massive land loss and water pollution in rivers, making it difficult for the people of Peru (primarily the Indigenous populations) to provide food and clean water for their families and thus threatening their very way of life. To learn more about the threats in Peru, read this article.
Another repeat recipient country for Unite to Light is Puerto Rico. When the area was rocked by Hurricane Maria in 2017, we partnered with Direct Relief to send over 2,500 solar lights to those who lost their homes and were without electricity for most of a year. Now, already in January 2020, hundreds of earthquakes are impacting Puerto Rico and the still fragile infrastructure. Direct Relief took another 100 of our Luke Lights and 300 Solar Chargers to hand out at displacement camps to people whose homes were not stable enough to return to (see photos).
Health, light and power are closely related. We are grateful for this partnership with Direct Relief and the opportunity to play a small part in the critical work they are doing around the world. We are also greatful to you for supporting this important work and helping to get solar light and power to people in need.