Published: December 19, 2013

by Charley Cameron

An estimated 6.8 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing civil war. With many refugees struggling to find access to adequate shelter, power, safe light sources and clean water, Solar start-up WakaWaka, in collaboration from Solease, are working to provide portable solar power devices to help Syrians in need.

Throughout the world refugees are usually equipped with poorly insulated tents, which typically last about six months, while kerosene lamps are used for light. These highly flammable lamps require expensive fuel and give off toxic fumes that are the equivalent of smoking “up to two cigarette packs per day.” Additionally, with lack of power and a rapidly dispersed population, it has become difficult for many to remain in contact with loved ones during the humanitarian crisis.

Which is where the portable solar-powered devices come in. Much as Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun lamps provide safe, solar-powered lighting to those in developing countries, and devices such as Nokero’s Sun Ray solar charger allowed some to remain in cell phone contact after Hurricane Sandy, WakaWaka’s Solar Power Station can charge phones or tablets, or provide up to 40 hours of light in one day of charging.

All images © WakaWaka

WakaWaka has provided 25,000 of the devices to Syrian refugees, and have launched a “buy one, give one” campaign to further support those living in refugee camps. Start-up Solease has purchased an additional 50 units for displaced persons in Syria, with each unit expected to benefit an average of five people.