In May 2009 Elfenworks welcomed One Million Lights (OML) to share our office space with us, briefly. We felt this experiment was is in direct alignment with our mission to foster positive, measurable, sustainable change. In this case, it was by seeing whether we might be the wind beneath the wings of one small nonprofit as it began to take flight, enable it to perhaps avoid overhead for a time, until momentum was gained, and they were of the size they could sustain it.
When the sun sets every day, millions of homes around the world go into darkness. In the 21st century, we should be able to offer a clean and eco-friendly solution. The Vision: to improve the daily lives of children and adults by providing one million clean and healthy solar lights to families around the world which replace toxic kerosene lamps and enable children to study at night. One Million Lights also works with local schools to increase awareness of global issues.
OML’s mission is to provide lighting to rural communities around the world with the goal of improving the lives of adults and children. Founder Anna Sidana and her team share one simple, beautiful ‘big hairy audacious’ goal: to rid the world of polluting and dangerous kerosene lanterns by replacing them with affordable and environmentally friendly, rechargeable solar lanterns and flashlights. They are setting about to distribute one million re-chargeable, eco-friendly solar lights to rural communities around the world with a primary focus on enhancing children’s education. Students who study by the glow of these lights at home not only do better at school, they also avoid potential burns, smoke inhalation and visual fatigue. While on the surface they are providing much needed light, in reality – they are allowing these children to study and adults to generate more income, so that they may eventually break through the cycle of poverty. One Million Lights is a non-profit organization and the sole project under the 501(c)3 registered non-profit organization World of Color. they welcome volunteers and donations. Contact: http://onemillionlights.org.
One in a Million!
In making use of our offices and support staff during this critical startup phase, the founder of OML could send a strong positive message that can only reassure all donors that she and her team were extremely serious about making the very best possible use of their donations, and that every possible dollar would go towards lighting the lives of the poor. Although it was likely not ideal for them (for example, sometimes, our hours didn’t mesh with theirs or we didn’t have the available space they needed for a meeting, and we didn’t have a proper receptionist for them), we feel it did help, a little. As for us, while we enjoyed having OML with us, we also realize it was a special case, having known the founder of OML for many years prior to OML’s launch. We don’t know that it could be generalized to just any other nonprofit. For our part, our team continued to examine our telecommuting schedules to make the best, greenest use of our office space, in an effort to do the right thing, smartly. And that, friends, is the story of why One Million Lights will always be very near and dear to the hearts of the team at The Elfenworks Foundation.
P.S., in 2015 OML is involved in helping in Nepal – see their blog!