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Solar Home Libraries

Like their counterparts all over the world, the students from Mara Girls Leadership School were sequestered at home during Covid-19. Many of these families live in earthen homes without power or light, and books are not to be found. We responded to this need by providing each of the 48 families with a Solar Home Library. This project had been a dream of ours for a long time, and the unusual circumstances provided an opportunity to pilot it. Hear what the student Nelly from Mara Girls has to say about her Library, how it helped her become "topping" in her class, and her dreams for the future! Today, Nelly is attending one of the national high schools in Kenya.


A "Solar Home Library" contains a robust SunBell Smart solar lantern big enough to light up the main room of a Maasai manyatta home or to use as directed light for reading, a study encyclopedia for the student, and a library of children's books and readers in English and Kiswahili for the family. We engaged teachers from Mara Girls to deliver the Libraries along with class assignments, food, and sanitary supplies. This enabled the girls to continue studying at home. When they returned to school after the pandemic, they brought their encyclopedia with them while the lantern and other books continued to provide light and literacy for their family back home. We hope to expand this initiative.

Each family received a SunBell Smart solar lantern from BRIGHT Products.

Many families in the Maasai Mara live in earthen homes without light or power.

  • Powerful enough to light up the main room​

  • A hanging light, focused reading light, or lantern to carry in the dark​

  • 110 hours of light on a 5-hour charge​

  • Proven effective at local safari camps

  • Robust and built for long-term use


Each Mara Girls student received a Targeter Student Encyclopedia for her grade level that combines enrichment material for all standard subjects in Kenya, chosen by the teachers.


Each family received a collection of 14 books for young readers that have proven to be popular in the Mara Girls library: storybooks in English and Kiswahili from a series published in Kenya to help young people develop reading skills; and children's picture storybooks with folktales about East African animals, to engender a love of wildlife and reading. These are examples.

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