July 3, 2011

Solar Lantern Brings Light to Rural Cambodians


The KamWorks Moonlight
When LA-based photographer Mathieu Young was on assignment in Cambodia he found a small project with a large agenda. The solar powered “Moonlight” is bringing light to small villages where 70 percent of Cambodians live without electricity.

“Traditionally,” says Young, “for tasks like cooking, eating, and reading after dark villagers would rely on kerosene lanterns, but these posed a serious fire risk as most of their houses are built from wood and straw.”

Not to mention the harmful effects of breathing the fuel’s toxic fumes.

The Moonlight uses energy efficient LED bulbs and is powered by a small solar cell that comes with the lantern. According to the light’s maker, KamWorks, a single charge powers the lamps’ brightest setting for four hours — and can provide enough light for eating or riding a bike at night for 20 hours. It even has a nightlight-type setting that will keep glowing for 40 hours.

KamWorks is a Dutch group working to bring solar power to rural areas. The Moonlight was co-designed by a Dutch team and local residents of a small fishing village outside of the capital, Phnom Penh.

Young, whose clients include CNN, Los Angeles Magazine, Newsweek, Participant Media and the Wall Street Journal, took a stunning set of images of villagers with their Moonlights, on display at his online gallery.
Cambodian fisherman with Moonlight    


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