Today, there are an estimated 13 million refugees under UNHCR’s care around the world – half of which are children. Many have no choice but to live in refugee camps, where an absence or lack of light after sunset can have a devastating effect on safety and security. Without light, simple activities such as visiting the toilet, collecting water, returning to the shelter from elsewhere or completing homework after dark can become difficult and dangerous, particularly for women and girls.
There are a number of ways sustainable lighting improves the quality of life in refugee camps. Solar lanterns allow girls and boys to study after dark. Lanterns and solar street lights also allow refugees to continue income generating activities after dark, such as buying and selling goods, providing technical services or running cooperatives and businesses. Solar street lights also enable more community gatherings and socializing after the sun goes down.