April 30, 2021

Year 5 Loreto Kirribilli students are playing their part in helping the more than 1.4 billion people globally who live without power.

In partnership with the Origin Energy Foundation, students constructed solar powered lights, known as ‘SolarBuddies’, which will enable children in Papua New Guinea to study long after the sun goes down.

Designed especially for children, the lights are easy to operate, carry and charge and without them, communities are forced to rely on fossil fuel sources like kerosene and diesel which are toxic, expensive and damaging to the environment.

Junior School classrooms were a hive of activity as batteries were charged, circuits connected and lights illuminated. Once construction was complete, students paused to reflect on the lives and livelihoods of their counterparts in PNG and wrote their own personal message for each SolarBuddy recipient.

“These SolarBuddy lights will help children living in energy poverty to continue studying long after the sun goes down, improving their education outcomes and overall health and wellbeing,” commented Martin Lobo, Acting Head of Loreto Kirribilli Junior School.

“We thank the Origin Energy Foundation and SolarBuddy for giving our students the opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of children living in poverty.”

The SolarBuddy program complements the Origin Energy Foundation’s focus on education, in particular STEM education, as a pathway to a brighter future.

According to Ruth Lee, Origin Energy Foundation Volunteering Program Manager, “Origin volunteers find it incredibly rewarding to see the impact STEM education has on school students as they become global citizens for the day, discovering how simple renewable energy technologies can make a real difference to energy poverty. We are pleased to support the students from Loreto Kirribilli and help inspire more young women to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or maths.”