On October 20-21, 2016, international music icon and entrepreneur Akon will join forces with To: (Tikkun Olam) and Bridge Partnership Schools for Liberia for an event that will launch the Light To Learn initiative. Akon will personally light up the communities around J.W. Pearson Elementary School in Monrovia and Zuluyee Public School in the Ganta District of Nimba County, using solar-generated lighting technology.
Light To Learn is an initiative that highlights the positive impact of investment in Africa’s sustainable power and education, and the importance of developing both sectors as they propel Liberia and the continent towards a better and brighter future.
While 80 percent of the world’s population has access to electricity, only 30 percent of the African population enjoys this benefit. Today, almost 600 million inhabitants live without electricity, particularly in rural areas. In some countries such as Liberia, there is virtually no access to electricity except by petrol generators.
The Light to Learn initiative aims to bring clean, affordable and endless solar energy that will in turn bring about beneficial change such as: Empowering schools to use technology to support teachers in lesson preparation and classroom management; Making use of digital libraries with access to hundreds of books at a child’s fingertips possible even in remote communities; Providing light to business owners such as shopkeepers, tradesmen and cooks to work and expand their activities and revenues; Making roads safer and improving the structure of public places; Helping guarantee the continuity of healthcare services as doctors are able to examine patients at dark; and Improving health within homes and communities who will be saved from using pollutant, toxic and costly domestic fuels such as kerosene
“Our teachers don’t feel confident teaching because without electricity and with few materials we are unable to prepare for lessons,” said Cathrine Jrikan, Vice Principal of Instruction at Bridge Partnership School J.W. Pearson. “This initiative means that my school will have the power it needs to enable use of modern technology, tablets for every teacher, and the materials and tools needed for classes; plus a digital library for the children. It will completely change their education for the better.”
“This year, we come to school and stay long because the lessons are good,” said Patricia Davis, an 18 year-old 6th grader at Bridge Partnership School Kpakolokoyata, whose education has benefitted from the provision of sustainable power, “People in town encourage us to learn now.”
“This is part of our plan for fostering harmony where we create lasting change on the ground,” said Nachson Mimran of To: “Studies show that the greatest developmental impact comes from investing in education and power. In this instance we accomplish both.”
Speaking ahead of the event, Akon commented “To be able to empower millions of people in Africa has always been a dream of mine. Our main goal is to bring light to Africa through public-private partnerships and the ripple effect of this is job creation, safety, commerce and supporting African children in furthering their education.”
Light To Learn is building a brighter Liberia. Members of the press are invited to join the Light To Learn initiative at its launch and celebrate sustainable and innovative solutions that are contributing to solving the current energy and education crisis. There are plans to bring the Light To Learn movement to other countries in Africa.
Special invited guest Her Excellency Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, students of the Bridge Partnership Schools for Liberia, teaching staff, parents, government officials and VIPs are expected to be in attendance.