HELPING OVERSEAS KIDS: Students from Chinchilla State High School joined with volunteers from Origin Energy to build solar powered lights for children living in Papua New Guinea without electricity. Picture: Origin Energy Foundation
HELPING OVERSEAS KIDS: Students from Chinchilla State High School joined with volunteers from Origin Energy to build solar powered lights for children living in Papua New Guinea without electricity. Picture: Origin Energy Foundation

Chinchilla students bring light to overseas kids in poverty

STUDENTS from Chinchilla became global citizens after they joined forces with Origin Energy volunteers to build solar powered lights for impoverished overseas children.

Around 100 year seven students from Chinchilla State High School joined to assemble the SolarBuddy solar lights, which will be gifted to children living in extreme energy poverty in Papua New Guinea.

These lights will allow children to safely study after dusk with a reliable and safe source of light.

Students from Chinchilla State High School joined with volunteers from Origin Energy to build solar powered lights for children living in Papua New Guinea without electricity. Picture: Origin Energy Foundation
Students from Chinchilla State High School joined with volunteers from Origin Energy to build solar powered lights for children living in Papua New Guinea without electricity. Picture: Origin Energy Foundation

Introduced by Australian charity SolarBuddy and supported by the Origin Energy Foundation, the program is designed to increase science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education opportunities for Australian students.

Chinchilla State High School head of department Duncan McLeod said he would love for this to be an ongoing activity for the school.

“The focus and keen participation by all students, and the encouraging letters they wrote to accompany the solar lights to their new homes in PNG was really positive,” he said.

Students from Chinchilla State High School joined with volunteers from Origin Energy to build solar powered lights for children living in Papua New Guinea without electricity. Picture: Origin Energy Foundation
Students from Chinchilla State High School joined with volunteers from Origin Energy to build solar powered lights for children living in Papua New Guinea without electricity. Picture: Origin Energy Foundation

“This highlights how powerful and engaging the SolarBuddy program is.”

Origin Energy Foundation volunteering program manager Ruth Lee said the introduction of the program has increased studying time in PNG children by 78 per cent.

“Since these fuels are also the single biggest expenditure for households, that money can now be spent on food and health and education,” Mrs Lee said.

Students from Chinchilla State High School joined with volunteers from Origin Energy to build solar powered lights for children living in Papua New Guinea without electricity. Picture: Origin Energy Foundation
Students from Chinchilla State High School joined with volunteers from Origin Energy to build solar powered lights for children living in Papua New Guinea without electricity. Picture: Origin Energy Foundation

Their reliance on kerosene and other dangerous fuels has also been reduced by 80 per cent.

Only 6.3 per cent of the rural population in PNG has access to grid electricity, which severely hinders the education opportunities of children, as they have no opportunity to study once the sun goes down.

Designed especially for children, the lights are easy to operate, carry and charge for students living in energy poverty.


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