A Seriously Bright Idea That's Giving An Amazing New Purpose To Something We Usually Throw Away

Remember when the most powerful typhoon ever to make landfall smashed into the Philippines and created a living hell for millions of people? It’s easy to forget for those of us who don’t have to face the aftermath day after day. But it’s important to remember that those who were affected have been living through the darkest days of their lives. This amazing project is helping to change that by bringing a little light back to devastated communities like Tacloban.

Liter of Light started with solar bulbs made from not much more than plastic bottles, water, and glue. Those made a huge difference for people, but they still only worked during the daytime. Today, they’re installing upgraded bulbs fitted with basic electronics that store solar energy to light people’s homes at night. If you think this is as amazing as I do and are interested in helping out, you know what to do.

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Male Survivor (Translated): Well this is one of our dreams, to have even just a little bit of light because we've been living in the dark for days. So, I think the people are excited to see even a little bit of light during the night. Well, firstly, I didn't think about how the storm affected me. I just thought of my responsibility here in the Barangay since: I'm the Barangay chairman. We just accepted what happened and all forms of help, however big or small it is, we accept with open arms.

Female Survivor (Translated): Here, we are a mixture of different people. There are people from our Barangay, but there are also some who are from different Barangays who are staying here with us. If there is light, everything becomes brighter. but with out current situation, there is a possibility, especially since there are children, that a fire could start. If someone forgets to put out a candle, it could also cause a fire.

Male (Translated): What we do here is that we try to teach people how to make solar light. That is the most essential, because there are no power lines, there is no electricity.

Female Survivor (Translated): This is truly a big help, especially for me, because I write a lot every night. This is really a big help to all of us, not just to me, especially to those who have children.

Male Survivor (Translated): We can't believe it! Our streets are so bright now. The fear of walking in the dark is gone because of the light. You could see the change.

Male (Translated): These are solar panels made by the people of Tacloban. The good thing about it is that it is easy to replicate. They finished this within two days in TESDA. We partnered with TESDA here in Tacloban, and it only took us an hour to assemble, and paint the posts. And now, it's already up. What is happening here is a revolution. The people are the ones looking for ways to rise up again. Plus, they're using this kind of technology.

John Kerry: Let me single out a couple more people, if I can please. Illac Diaz, who I was just introduced to over here, standing beside his light fixture over there. Is not only a brilliant innovator and entrepreneur, but he's a generous human being. Illac took recycled materials and he made handheld environmentally friendly, very simple solar lights. Turning soda bottles into something that could be useful into light for people to be able to have in their homes.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

Original by WYD Productions in partnership with Liter of Light, a project of My Shelter Foundation to get low-cost, zero-waste lighting into the homes and communities that need it most.

Apr 09, 2014

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