Melody Sarudzayi Joachim, one of Little Sun’s oldest friends and Chairperson of Alight Zimbabwe (Little Sun’s partner and distributor in Zimbabwe, comprised of a group of Zimbabweans who were supported as children by PLAN International), sat down for a chat with us to tell us about her work selling Little Sun lamps to those without access to electricity.
1. Can you tell us about how you first got involved with Little Sun and what first interested you about the project?
Our group, Alight Zimbabwe, decided to come together for the cause of trying to find ways and means to uplift other disadvantaged children so that they could also go to school and get the same opportunities like we did.
Through PLAN International we also managed to get in touch with Little Sun who was also trying to improve lives across the world. Little Sun has been of great assistance to us because the profits that we get from the sales of Little Sun lamps, we can use them to plow back into society. It’s not much but at least we can improve some other peoples’ lives.
Today we have sold close to 30,000 Little Sun lights in Zimbabwe.
It’s not really about the profit, it’s about making sure there is light where we come from.
2. What does your work with Little Sun now involve? Can you tell us about what you do with the Little Sun project day-to-day?
With or without the profit I can spend the whole week going to the office every lunch hour to collect the lights at my own expense.
I don’t even feel it, I love to do it, it’s in me.
When we started selling Little Suns our target market was the rural area. We knew about that because we are all grew up in remote areas where there is no lighting or electricity.
People really want light. And sometimes they really can’t afford. You can tell some people cannot afford. There was a time we exchanged a Little Sun for a chicken because they really wanted a Little Sun.
Every evening, as soon as it is dark, my four year old son loves to personalize one of the lights: he is the one that wants to switch on his Little Sun by himself.
3. How has Little Sun impacted upon the lives of those you’ve sold the lamps to?
There was a day when I travelled to the rural areas. When we got there, there was a lady there itching to talk to me.
The lady said: “I only wanted to say thank you and show you my daughter’s examination results.”
And I said: “Oh okay, congratulations.”
And she said, “It’s because of you.” And I wondered, how? Because I had not met this daughter before.
But the lady said, “It is because of that light that you gave us.”
I was touched, because deep down I felt very happy that I helped someone achieve their dream. And it was all because of the Little Sun.
4. What is your favourite story from someone who has bought a Little Sun lamp from you?
There is one of my work friends in Zimbabwe. He bought a Little Sun for his grandmother.
She is not blind but her eyesight is very bad and sometimes she fails to get money to buy a candle. This makes it very difficult for her to move around at night.
She asked her grandson to phone me for her so she could say to me:
“Thank you so much, my daughter, because at least now I can be able to see.”
Now at night, she can simply hang her Little Sun lamp around her neck and move about and she is able to see. It is because of the Little Sun.
For more of the story, here’s Little Sun’s conversation with Melody in Berlin.