From New Zealand to Swaziland, we are all connected by the sun

How a stall at New Zealand’s Lux Festival kick-started a micro-entrepreneurial initiative on the other side of the world…


When Frances Manwaring from Moxie promoted the Little Sun project at the Wellington Lux Festival in New Zealand in 2015, she had no idea that her presence that day would set off a new entrepreneurial initiative in Swaziland, South Africa, that would see women in rural areas distributing much-needed solar lamps. How could she have predicted that she would create such a perfect example of how we are all connected?

Here’s what happened: Kevin Rhynas visited Wellington Lux Festival and saw Frances’ Little Sun stall. Kevin liked the solar lamps and immediately thought of the organization in Swaziland that he supports, called SHAMBA (more info below). So he got in touch with Little Sun’s headquarters in Berlin who then connected SHAMBA’s Allan Low with Little Sun in South Africa. Phew!


Alan liked the lamps too. He and Kevin then decided to start a project, offering Swazi women Little Sun solar lamps to sell into their communities where electricity is scarce. The women developed basic sales skills during a business training course and used the initial stock as “seed capital” to get their micro-businesses off the ground.


So it happened that the Little Sun stall in New Zealand initiated a micro-entrepreneurial project on the other side of the world, in beautiful Swaziland. Where now, women like Teresa Magagula (pictured), sell solar lights and in this way, bringing clean and safe solar products to those who need them most.


Further info: the woman in the photo is Teresa Magagula. Teresa is a member of the Nkoyoyo community in Mpolonjeni chiefdom, 10km north of Mbabane. Teresa is a caregiver for the Nkoyoyo Neighbourhood Care Point (NCP). She also has a store in Nkoyoyo where she sells vegetables and other goods. Teresa is a participant in a business training course facilitated by SHAMBA. This course is run by the head of business training at Waterford Kamhlaba College in conjunction with International Baccalaureate students.

SHAMBA’s main focus of activity is helping communities provide early childhood education and development for disadvantaged, AIDSs-affected children. SHAMBA works with NCP caregivers, some of whom also assist with teaching in the community preschools. SHAMBA helps caregivers make an income by training them as teachers and providing them with stipends for assisting in preschool teaching and after-school clubs for students in grades 1-4. SHAMBA also partners with other organisations to help caregivers and other women in the community gain literacy, business and computer skills.