Almost 2 billion people use kerosene lamps to light their homes- Many individuals fall victim to burns when these lamps get knocked over, suffer through the stench of burning oil and children are sent to hospitals after accidentally ingesting the kerosene. Not only are these lamps dangerous, especially when fueled with gasoline out of desperation, but they are costly.
Founder and CEO of http://www.dlightdesign.com/, Sam Goldman, spent the better part of his 28 years growing up in South America, Africa, India and the Middle East. Goldman seems to feel comfortable in any environment. He explains his involvement in rural towns while growing up in his blog:
* caravans of camels passing by our house in Mauritania,
* Boy Scouts trips to the Kyber Pass in Pakistan shooting AK47′s smuggled out of Afghanistan,
* boat trips in the Amazon looking for river otters during school break in Peru,
* drinking yak milk tea during high school field trips in the Indian Himalayas.
I was young – deeply concerned with poverty and inequality. Typical for someone who had never experienced it. While bicycling 9,000 km across Canada with the Climate Change Caravan I decided to apply to the Peace Corps. I wanted to understand the life of a poor farmer. A year later I was living 20 km from the Nigerian border, in a small village in Benin without electricity, water, telephones, or a paved road. ”
Goldman experienced the danger of Kerosene lighting while in Benin, when a neighbors son was badly burned after tripping over a kerosene lamp and engulfed in flames. It was then that Goldman decided to design a cheap and safe light source for underprivileged families throughout the world.
D.light is dedicated to eliminating the need for kerosene lanterns with cheap, safe and efficient alternatives. Their website explains their goal: “In 10 years, we will partner with other organizations to replace every kerosene lantern in the world with safer, brighter, and more affordable lighting. Like the eradication of small pox and soon polio, we can provide everyone with access to a basic human need: safe and bright light. This will allow children to study more effectively, adults to engage in income generating activities, and it will provide safer and cleaner indoor environments while reducing climate changing CO2 emissions.”
Driven to succeed in his vision of replacing the world’s Kerosene lamps, Goldman was accepted to an MBA program at Standford which provided the fundamentals for an entrepreneur focused on manufacturing a universally affordable product. After spending a few months researching rural peoples’ lighting needs and testing prototypes d.light was launched in May 21, 2007 with 5 full time employees. Only 10 days later, the Draper Fisher Jurvetson Venture Challenge awarded the company $250,000.
The quality product developed by d.light is up to 20 times as bright as a kerosene lantern, 30-50% more efficient than compact fluorescent lights, is solar charged and provides up to 200 hours of light at the lowest setting!
Currently, d.light is focusing on India and Asia where respiratory infections caused by the horrendous indoor air quality are a major cause of death in children under 5. Many families have already benefited from owning a d.light: Productivity has increased because it is easier to see and breath around these lights, the maintinence costs are non-existent and families can save the money they make rather than spend a whole days pay on the fuel needed to run a kerosene lamp. Right now a major concern is making the lights more affordable to families. Donations are accepted where online visitors can donate a $30 d.light to a family in India but the company is attempting to reduce production costs as well. Things are definitely a lot brighter with d.light.