After a discussion forum held with the students of a local Kenyan secondary school (high school), the Invictus team identified that a large majority of Kenyan students do not have electricity or lights in their schools and homes to study at night. In addition to an intensive educational curriculum, students are required to take an exit exam after completing each grade. The final exit exam to leave the twelfth grade is the most important, as any score less than a B+ will mean zero assistance from scholarships or government funding, oftentimes resulting in no hope for these children to leave the dire circumstances of their environment for the pursuit of higher education and better quality of life. With limited time to study during the day, and not enough money for lanterns or candles at night, the inability to study has resulted in many children failing to meet the passing grade and, as a result, continuing on the legacy of their parents before them, a life of poverty and struggle.
This project will provide solar light bulbs to secondary students so that they can spend extra time studying at home during the night hours, thereby helping them do well in school and perform at a higher level on their final grade exit exams. Solar lamps will be earned by individual students through a combination of written essays and previous academic merits. Additional bulbs will also be made available to the entire school through a check-out/check-in as-needed borrowing system.
By providing solar lights to these students, we hope to empower them and give them the opportunity to work to further their education and rise out of the gloomy circumstances most of the other community members know all too well.After distributing these lamps and following up with these students on the 2014 Kenya trip, the feedback from the students was extremely positive, with many of them claiming that the lamps had allowed them to read and study after dark (resulting in better grades) and had built up their confidence that scoring a high grade on their 12th grade exit exam could be a reality. The Invictus is currently working on improvements to these study lamps so that they can survive the harsh Kenyan environmental conditions, and is committed to investing the time and energy to bring back a better product on one of the future trips.During the 2015 Invictus team trip to Kenya, we received stellar feedback regarding the first batch of solar lights introduced into the community back in 2013. 90% of the students that received solar lights passed their twelfth grade exit exams. Almost half of those students received full funding for college.