A letter from John Heller, CEO, Little Sun

Dear Friends,

What if this is just the beginning, a prelude for more disruption to come? What if COVID is nature’s way telling us we have been living out of balance, that we have prized convenience over conscience? What if cyclones and hurricanes keep growing in intensity? What if global temperatures and sea levels continue to rise, requiring the resettlement of a billion people over the coming decades? What if crises continue to expose the racism and unfairness that are deeply baked into our societies? What if all of it – the pandemic, climate change, social upheaval – are all connected? And what if what’s happening is one colossally painful wake-up call?

OK we’re awake. Now what?

None of us alone can change the whole world, but each of us can make a difference. We all can take small steps which ripple into seismic shifts when aggregated across the globe. Seemingly overnight millions of students and workers made the move to online schools and workplaces, showing us that we can change collective behavior when we must. Even more dramatic is the mass outpouring of support for racial justice, with street demonstrations swelling not only in the United States but in cities across the globe. Each individual protester is a lone voice, but millions of lone voices are a roar for change.

The organization I lead, Little Sun, is, well, little. But we are doing what we can to push hard for a better future, a future that is just, safe, and sustainable; a future where my children and your children will be OK. Little Sun is working in Sub-Saharan Africa, joining forces with local partners to bring solar energy to areas without electricity. We are bringing solar energy to health facilities and front-line community health workers. We are harvesting sunlight and transforming it into power so that students can study at night, farmers can become more productive, small businesspeople can earn an income. Affordable access to clean energy is both a practical way to improve people’s lives now and also a way to create economies that are more fair, where people and the earth can both thrive. Beyond our efforts in Africa, we are also working globally, bringing our voice and inspiration to the climate movement.

I invite you to join us in a conversation about creating a sustainable future, to join us in taking steps that count, small steps that together become great leaps forward. You can learn more about Little Sun and support our work. You can sign up for our newsletter. If you have a personal experience with solar energy, share it with us so we can share it with others. Write to me personally at john@littlesun.com to tell me your ideas about how Little Sun can make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

Little Sun’s founder Olafur Eliasson is right when he says that holding hands with the sun is holding hands with the future. I’d like to expand on that by saying that holding your hand is holding hands with the future.


John Heller
CEO, Little Sun

John Heller is the Chief Executive Officer of Little Sun.
He has extensive experience in the social sector, having developed and led large-scale programs to address issues such as child under-nutrition, clean water access, agricultural transformation, indigenous people’s rights, and public health systems strengthening. 
Before joining Little Sun, John served as Managing Director at the Synergos Institute, where he founded and led an innovative purpose-driven consultancy that enabled global companies, foundations and social enterprises to achieve social impact in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 
Photo: Yero Adugna Eticha