These Women Invented a New Kind of Solar Light for Haiti: How Their Bright Idea is Helping Hurricane Matthew Relief

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Mark Cuban-backed LuminAID is working with charitable partners to help families affected by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti receive LuminAID solar lanterns as part of much-needed relief aid.

LuminAID co-founders Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta were architecture students in 2010 when they were inspired to design a new kind of solar light in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They invented LuminAID’s patented solar inflatable technology, creating a compact, rechargeable solar lantern that packs flat and inflates into a lightweight, waterproof light source. Since then, LuminAID has been innovating and expanding their technology to new applications, including the camping and emergency preparedness markets, but Anna and Andrea have always had Haiti on the back of their minds. As news of the devastation in Haiti becomes apparent in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, LuminAID and its charitable partners are working to help those affected by the storm who are in need of safe, sustainable lighting. This is especially meaningful for Anna and Andrea, as it gives them another chance to give back to the people of Haiti, their original inspiration.

“When Anna and I came up with the idea for our lights just over 5 years ago as students, we never imagined that we would be able to help people with our small idea in such a big way around the world, including Haiti.” says Andrea. “It has been incredibly meaningful for us as inventors to know that our lights are making an impact around the world, and that we can support the efforts of first responders and great organizations like Convoy of Hope and who are providing aid after a disaster like Hurricane Matthew.”

LuminAID solar lanterns charge fully in the sun and provide up to 30 hours of LED light. They are completely waterproof and float and require no external batteries. Moreover, the lanterns pack flat and weigh just under 3 ounces, making them an ideal aid item for easy transport and distribution. In a box that an aid agency might ship 8 traditional lanterns or flashlights, they can fit 50 LuminAID lights. Solar rechargeable lighting provides a better alternative to the dangerous and toxic kerosene lanterns and candles that are often used for lighting after disasters and in off-grid areas. There are 1.6 billion people worldwide who lack sufficient access to electric lighting.

LuminAID has partnered with on-the-ground organizations in Haiti to provide lights to those in need, including and Convoy of Hope, both of whom are pledging their efforts to deliver aid to hurricane-affected communities in Haiti at this time. Through LuminAID’s Give Light, Get Light Program on, consumers can buy a light for themselves, and sponsor a second light to be distributed by a partner charity to those in need. This week, LuminAID is running a “Double Your Impact” campaign, and will match every sponsored light with a second one for Hurricane Matthew relief.

According to Eric Klein, the head of who has worked to help communities in Haiti for many years and distributed thousands of LuminAID solar lanterns, LuminAID’s lights are “the perfect lighting system for the kind of work we do in the field. Many people- especially women with small children living in temporary shelters were so grateful to have light- not only for the security factor but it allowed them the simple luxuries of not having to cook, wash, and dress by candlelight.”

LuminAID is supported by investors Mark Cuban and Blake Mycoskie, both of whom support the company's continued efforts to help those in need after disasters and in crises with innovative solar lighting solutions. Through the Give Light, Get Light program, LuminAID has distributed more than 25,000 lights to projects in more than 60 countries to-date. 1500 solar lights were previously distributed in Haiti by charitable partners, including Hurricane Isaac in 2012.
Contact: daphna(at)luminaid(dot)com, (312) 600-8997
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As a faith-based, nonprofit organization Convoy of Hope has helped more than 70 million people throughout the world by sharing food, water, emergency supplies, agricultural know-how, and opportunities that empower people to live independent lives, free from poverty, disease and hunger. Convoy of Hope does this through Mobilizing tens of thousands of volunteers each year. Partnering with churches, businesses, individuals and other humanitarian organizations who are intent on doing good work among the impoverished and suffering.
Contact: MOLLY ERICKSON, Public Relations

CAN-DO (Compassion into Action Network - Direct Outcome Organization) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that donors can count on to get the job done. From natural disasters to humanitarian crises, we provide critical aid to communities who need it most in a timely and transparent manner. We are not tied down by politics or bureaucracy, and do not delay delivery of lifesaving resources by getting caught up in the red tape. We are dedicated to providing lasting, self-sustainable solutions for people facing some of the world's most critical problems. We go anywhere in the world and do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Contact: Eric Klein, ek(at)can-do(dot)org

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Daphna Gall
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