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August 03, 2016

Kids N Culture’s mission is to give all students, regardless of circumstance, equal access to experiential learning and cultural sensitivity training. They bring students from various backgrounds together for 6 months of curriculum before traveling abroad with them. For most, this is their first time on a plane, let alone immersing themselves in a new culture as a way of awakening their inner curiosities about the world.

For the most recent trip, students traveled to Tanzania for a 10 day service tour in the village of Moshi. One of the major issues that the Moshi teachers cited is a lack of electricity - local students can't see to read, sopartners like LuminAID make a huge difference. The lights were received by the local school and village with thankful tears and song.

One student volunteer, Zo, was gracious enough to share his account and experiences from the trip. This is his story.

 

LuminAID PackLite 12
Tanzanian women with their LuminAID PackLite 12 lights during a demonstration

 

On October 22nd, 2015, I received some very exciting news - I was selected into the Kids N Culture program and would be traveling to Tanzania as an ambassador for 10 days in April!

Once all the Kids N Culture students arrived in Tanzania, we visited a local school where our goal was to interact with the students and the village people and to reconstruct and paint one of their school buildings.  Every morning I would wake up, full of energy and joy seeing the beautiful little kids and their beautiful smiles. The village people have very little, yet they are so happy and welcoming. One day, while I was conversing with the chef he told me that day was the first time they had rice in very long time, usually their meals consist of stiff porridge and beans sauce. It was eye opening in so many ways.

That very same day, I was shocked again - students tend not to learn in the rainy or winter months as much as they do in the summer. The reason - lighting. The school has no electricity, so they rely on the sun for classroom lighting. In those dark months, it’s not possible for the little ones to learn. When the days are shorter and the nights are longer, the older students do not have any lights to continue their studies for upcoming exams.  In an effort to continue their classes, the school teachers would try to gather as many lanterns as possible from their neighbors in order to continue teaching, sometimes bartering for light. Thanks to LuminAID, this year they have nothing to worry about other than making sure they do not forget to leave the PackLite 12 under the sun. With just one simple click of a button they will have an abundance of light.

 

Kids n Culture Volunteers PackLite 12
Volunteers demonstrate how to inflate a LuminAID PackLite 12

 

It was amazing as a student who wants to own his own business one day to see a company like LuminAID, a growing startup, giving back to a community with greater need. LuminAID graciously allowed Kids N Culture students to bring a case of PackLite 12 lights - one for each classroom at the Nhsara Ufundi Primary School.

I was one of the ambassadors that had the pleasure of explaining how to the use the PackLite 12 to the Tanzanian villagers.  I can honestly say that was one of my most memorable moments in life; to witness something we take for granted bringing so much joy and hope for a whole community. When the lights turned on, every smile in that room lit up. There were songs and dances of joy around the table that lasted for minutes. The gratitude was unlike anything I had ever witnessed, and it empowered me to find that type of meaning in everything I do. That moment in my life is priceless and beautiful.

 

Kids n Culture LuminAID PackLite 12
Kids play with their new LuminAID lanterns

 

In the future I would like to become a nurse and join the international nursing program to help countries around the world and try to make a difference. Like LuminAID did by providing Kids N Culture with solar panel lights to give to Nhsara Ufundi Primary School, I too want to bring the light I can offer to parts of the world that need it the most. And sure, maybe it’s not a spotlight, but even if a few lives are taken out of the darkness, I think I can call that a life well spent. So that’s my challenge - share your light with the world. You will surprise more than just yourself.

Zohirul Islam

Kids N Culture Ambassador



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