Panasonic lanterns give Vietnam’s poor children access to solar power

Thanks to a Panasonic-backed campaign, poor children and their families living without access to the national power grid in the mountainous northern Vietnamese province of Yen Bai finally have the opportunity to use solar electricity.

On March 10, the Japanese electronics giant, partnering with relief and development organization World Vision, donated 702 solar lanterns to the province’s authorities, which will be distributed across the provinces Van Chan, Tram Tau, Yen Binh, and Luc Yen districts. 

All four of these districts are within World Vision’s project area and the donation is the second of its kind to be made in Vietnam since Panasonic brought its “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project” to the country last year.

World Vision said the lanterns are to be used at nutrition clubs, reading clubs, village-based kindergartens, primary schools, health stations, and village meeting halls in which the organization supports community development activities.

As a partner of the “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project,” World Vision helped distribute 630 lanterns to poor districts in Dien Bien, another mountainous northern province, during its first round of donations in Vietnam in March 2015. So far, more than 9,500 people have benefited from the support.

panasonic lanterns give vietnam’s poor children access to solar power hinh 0

“With the lanterns, poor locals without electricity can be more participative in community development activities,” said Khong Huong Lan, World Vision’s external affairs and advocacy director in Vietnam.

In Dien Bien, people use the solar lantern for evening community meetings where they learn and share knowledge and information regarding child nutrition and livelihood development, according to the World Vision executive.

“The sufficient light has also prevented children from being short-sighted when they read books at libraries or studying in classrooms that lack natural light,” she said.

“We are confident that the lanterns will contribute to improving the quality of life for children and their communities in World Vision’s working areas.”

The solar lantern has three brightness levels and is able to run in six hours with the highest level, 15 hours with the medium and 90 hours with the lowest. It also can charge a mobile phone with 5V and 500mA output in one hour.

The lanterns only weight 0.4kg and  are easy to carry.  They can be charged in as fast as six hours under direct sunlight via the attached easy-to-clean glass-covered 3.5W solar panel.

The "100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project" was launched as part of Panasonic's corporate citizenship activities to utilize its technology and products to resolve various social challenges faced in emerging and developing countries that have poor electrical power conditions.

The goal is to donate 100,000 solar lanterns to NPOs/ NGOs, humanitarian organizations and international organizations by the year 2018, Panasonic's 100th anniversary, according to the project’s website.

The project was initiated in 2012 and by the end of March, 2015 Panasonic had donated 40,000 solar lanterns across areas in nine countries. 

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