“Solar Sister eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity. We combine the breakthrough potential of solar and clean cooking technology with a deliberately woman-centered direct sales network to bring light, hope and opportunity to even the most remote communities in rural Africa.”-www.solarsister.com
Katherine Lucey is a mother of five and founder and CEO of Solar Sister, a Rhode Island based direct marketing social enterprise that currently operates in the countries of Uganda, Nigeria, and Tanzania. She had previously spent decades in the field of finance, and after having seen first hand the exclusion of women in the energy sector through her work, she formulated her piece of the solution to the problem. Katherine knew that despite the fact that women were being excluded from the energy conversation, they were actually the main household purchasers. On average 40% of that purchasing power was being spent on energy resources such a s wood, kerosine or paraffin, which came with their own set of harmful issues. Burns, respiratory problems, and the dangers of a woman collecting wood on her own, often at dark, inspired Katherine to launch a direct sales solar enterprise that would both empower these women economically and provide an alternative clean energy source for their daily lives.
Five years later Solar Sister has 1,250 entrepreneurs selling solar lamps, lighting solutions, and clean cookstoves, helping communities to leapfrog over older energy technologies in favor of clean, renewable solar energy sourced by the African sun. To celebrate the five year anniversary of Solar Sister, a goal has been set of raising $500,00.00 to train and launch 1,000 new Solar Sister entrepreneurs. This July a group will climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, to raise funds and awareness for their campaign, and as a symbolic tribute to all of the Solar Sister Entrepreneurs.
“Every woman is a Solar Sister” Solar Sister’s Director of Engagement Caroline Mailoux explained as she outlined her goal of taking part in the upcoming Solar Sister Kilimanjaro climb this summer.
“We want to challenge ourselves in the same way these women do, the Solar Sisters are bold, brave, overcoming obsticles, and transforming how people consume clean energy every day.”
The issue of energy poverty is a universal one, and understanding the importance of women and access to clean energy is becoming increasingly important each day.
Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.
1. Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?
Currently, I live in Washington, D.C. with my husband and three children (ages 1, 2, and 4). Our family is constantly on the move because we are a U.S. Foreign Service Family. We just returned to the U.S. after nearly four years in Bangkok, Thailand, where both of my daughters were born and my son grew up, and will be moving to Krakow, Poland in the summer of 2015. I was born and raised in Florida, but I spent my high school years in Singapore.
2. What language(s) do you speak?
I speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Thai — some better than others!
3. When did you first become a mother (year/age)?
I first became a mother at the age of 31, when my son Logan was born (2010).
4. Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you work?
It was always my intention to continue working after I started my family (previously I was a U.S. diplomat serving in Mozambique, Venezuela, Sudan, Washington, D.C. and Thailand), but after the birth of my first child, I knew instantaneously that I wanted to be home with him — and other children we might have — in order to nurture them and watch them grow. I was fortunate to be able to make the choice to stay at home and although some days are more challenging than others, I’ve never regretted the decision to leave my career in order to be at home with my children.
5. Why do you blog/write?
I write for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I enjoy writing. I’ve always written – whether in a journal, for major publications, or on my blog. I express myself best when I write. I love being able to chronicle our family’s journey around the world on my blog, Toddle Joy. I also enjoy being able to inform other parents about traveling with their families to places that we’ve lived and visited. I love discovering new vacation spots and/or activities and being able to share that with others!
6. What makes you unique as a mother?
I like to be on the go. Whether it’s traveling to a new location or checking out a new local museum, library, or park, I like to be out and about. I think my children have followed in my footsteps, because they cannot bear to be home for more than a few hours at a time before they are ready to get out and explore too. Luckily, my husband’s job affords us the opportunity to move around the world to new locations every few years. Suffice it to say, we never get bored. It’s perfect for us!
7. What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?
I like to encourage my children to be outgoing, courageous, and inquisitive. I feel like there are some places in the world where they can do that freely and I don’t need to worry about their safety. In other places, I worry more about their safety. I want them to be able to trust others, but also have a sense of street smart about them.
8. How did you find World Moms Blog?
A dear friend of mine, Ana Gaby Turner, introduced me to World Moms Blog. We lived together in Thailand and are now both in Washington, D.C. We’ve shared many of the same overseas experiences and have children the same ages.
These interview questions were answered for World Moms Blog by Loren Braunohler. Photo credit: Loren Braunohler.
Loren Braunohler is a former U.S. diplomat turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. She is a world traveler who avoids the cold (don't ask why she is currently in Poland). Former assignments have included Mozambique, Venezuela, Australia, Sudan, Thailand and Washington, D.C. She enjoys running, although she probably enjoys sleeping even more. Loren blogs about her family's international adventures and parenting at www.toddlejoy.com.
As a wife of one and a mom of four, it seems like I am always learning and discovering! I know I am not alone. Let’s just admit it: The world is a big place, life is a lesson, and children can be the best teachers. Normally my series, Life Lessons with Mexico Mom, is hosted on Los Gringos Locos, but today I am posting here on World Moms Blog.
This week’s life lessons are all about bugs. Spiders, cockroaches, bees, and scorpions…oh my! Yikes! Our new home in Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico was vacant for three years before we moved in last month. The bugs were having a field day, then we arrived. They officially declared our move an invasion and initiated a full scale assault. Our comeback was fumigating with a strong pesticide. Here are my insights and experiences as a Mexico Mom, living with bugs:
Life Lesson 59: I hate Mexican cockroaches just as much as U.S. cockroaches. I don’t know exactly what it is about cockroaches but I hate these creepy, crawly critters. They give me the chills. Maybe it’s because they are associated with rotten food. At least in my mind, I associate them with rotten food. They skittle about and come in all sizes. We have some big ones in Mexico!
Life Lesson 60: Bees go to light just like moths. We have bees on our roof beneath the clay tiles. Someone obviously tried to smoke the hive and get rid of them but it didn’t work. At night the bees go to light. The street light over our balcony, our bedroom light, and our bathroom light. Mr. Curious, aka Tristan, stepped on one and got stung. He is not allergic so no serious damage was done 🙁
Life Lesson 61: Scorpions are part of the Arachnid class just like spiders. They both have eight appendages. We have seen three scorpions in our house. They were taking a leisurely stroll, till they met the bottom of a shoe. One was smaller then my pinkie nail. We also have our share of spiders. The best one being the giant Black Widow you see in the photos. We watched her die. Her struggle was sad but I can’t imagine what she could have done to one of the kids. I dislike spiders almost as much as cockroaches!
What life lessons did you learn this past week?Please share it with us below. We want to hear your thoughts from around the world!
Tina lives abroad in Mexico with her husband and four children. She is active with homeschool, travel, and her Bible ministry. Tina loves photography and writing thus she blogs. Come join her adventures!
When we first married we lived in an apartment in the heart of a big metropolis. It was practical to live near everything we needed and be able to do all of our errands by foot or bus (in fact, we had no car and walked to work). However, we missed having green. We started looking for a house in a nice region on the outskirts of the metropolitan area, near a forest reservation.
When we finally found a place we could afford to rent it wasn’t exactly your typical house. The owner had built two tiny guest houses in the back of a property he had initially planned to build a regular house in the front of later on; but that never happened.
On the upside we were living glued to a fragment of Atlantic rainforest and our son now had a huge garden to play in. On the downside, the house wasn’t exactly practical.
One of the guest houses had two rooms, a kitchen and a terrace. There we installed our son’s room and ours. However, the kitchen was so small it would only fit the fridge OR the stove, so we had to put the fridge in the second guesthouse and crossover all the time, sun or rain.
The second guesthouse, in turn, had a living room/terrace, one room (which became our library/office), the main bathroom and a pantry of sorts (we squeezed in the fridge instead). The roof had no lining, which wouldn’t be a problem if we didn’t have constant animal visitors coming in (lots of funny stories about that!).
Later on, when we were able to buy the our place, we decided to apply our limited funds to adapt the two guesthouses. An architect friend did his best to join them together into a single, more conventional house.
Our bedroom was expanded and incorporated the tiny kitchen and part of the terrace. A living room was built to join the two houses, which took the shape of a “J”. The main bathroom and former pantry gave place to the new kitchen. Part of the terrace became the laundry room. We lined the roof, installed mold-proof open wardrobes, and installed a large bathtub where our two other children were later to be born.
Nevertheless, all of this did not happen at one time. As I said, we had limited funds and every time these funds began to wane we had to stop.
At three different and stressful moments a lot of work was done in the house, including once, when during three very challenging months, we had to live at my mother-in-law’s.
Now, years later, we still live in a very unconventional house.
Besides the bedrooms, we never put in windowpanes or doors. The terrace/living room still opens completely into the forest – a curse and a blessing all at once! And even though our financial situation has improved considerably over the past few years, it has been four years since our last attempt at home improvement.
Aside from the occasional efforts to clean/fix the roof from the huge amount of leaves we get, we haven’t done much. Every time we think of all the stress involved we decide to postpone any kind of big project.
Despite everything, I love my house and its garden. I believe things will get better as our children grow older and we have more time and energy for housekeeping and improvement. My husband, on the other hand, thinks there is no way to make this house work and we should just move elsewhere, even though he also loves the closeness to the forest. The truth is he would like to live on a small farm, although I have safety concerns. Thus, every once in a while we go house or farm hunting.
Stay tuned! Part 2 coming soon…
How about you, what are your stories with house remodeling and moving? Please share below?
This is part 1 of a two part, original post to World Moms Blog from our contributor and mom of three in Brazil, Ecoziva.
The image used in this post is attributed to Karen Roe. It carries a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.
Eco, from the greek oikos means home; Ziva has many meanings and roots, including Hebrew (brilliance, light), Slovenian (goddess of life) and Sanskrit (blessing). In Brazil, where EcoZiva has lived for most of her life, giving birth is often termed “giving the light”; thus, she thought, a mother is “home to light” during the nine months of pregnancy, and so the penname EcoZiva came to be for World Moms Blog.
Born in the USA in a multi-ethnic extended family, EcoZiva is married and the mother of two boys (aged 12 and three) and a five-year-old girl and a three yearboy. She is trained as a biologist and presently an university researcher/professor, but also a volunteer at the local environmental movement.
Today we welcome a guest post from Tara, who is writing from Kenya. You can follow her adventures in parenting at mamamgeni.com, where she blogs about raising her family with one foot in the expat world and the other firmly planted in her husband’s homeland. As she recently discovered, finding a black doll was no easy task–in either place.
“Mommy, there are three black people and one white person in our family.” My eldest daughter enjoys pointing out the obvious. She’s referring to me (white American), my husband (black Kenyan), and her baby sister (mixed-race, just like she is). She fully identifies as black, and has recently been expressing interest in race and skin color. We want our kids to explore their cultural and racial identities, and we try to ensure our toys and books reflect the richness of both of our cultures.
My youngest recently turned one, and we decided to get her a baby doll for her birthday. More specifically, we wanted to get her a black baby doll. Should be easy, right? We live in Kenya. No, not easy. THERE ARE ALMOST NO BLACK DOLLS HERE. Whenever you see Kenyan kids playing with dolls, they are almost always little white dolls with blonde hair. White baby dolls, white Barbies, white, white, white. You can find some nice black dolls handmade out of cloth, but they tend to be mommy dolls with babies on their backs. I was looking for a realistic baby, something she could cuddle and take care of, a baby of her own.
Since I was having no luck finding what I was looking for in Kenya, I decided to look for a black baby doll while I was in the US on a recent visit. My family lives in a greater metro area that is over 50% African American. I went to a local department store, and sought out the doll section. I expected to see a choice of dolls from different ethnicities (at least black and white dolls, given the racial make-up of the city). I was wrong – there was nothing but white dolls. Row upon row of white dolls. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed white dolls. Dozens of pink boxes with white dolls inside. Not the kind of dolls I was looking for.
Why was this so hard?
In the end, I decided to search online for a black baby doll, and found one that I loved. My daughter loves it too… She walks around the house, patting her baby’s back, swaying back and forth with a big grin on her face. I had some Kenyan colleagues at my house recently, and they asked where I had found our black doll. I told them my story, and together we lamented the fact that there were so few black dolls available in a predominantly black country.
There is a market for this kind of toy here, and someone is missing out on a serious business opportunity!
It is really important to me that my children have dolls and books that reflect who they are. My eldest is always looking for people who have skin like hers, or hair like hers.
She yearns to identify with a group of people. Having black baby dolls and books featuring black characters makes a difference. Dolls may be “just toys,” but they can mean so much more to a young girl who longs to connect and identify with others like her. What are dolls like in the country where you live? Do they reflect how the people look, or are they different in any way?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Mama Mgeni of Kenya.
Tara Wambugu is a wife, a mother of two, and a Kenya-based lifestyle blogger covering parenting, family life, travel, and more. A former aid worker, Tara has worked in various countries in Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and Central America. She is now a stay-at-home mom living in Nairobi with her husband and their two sassy little girls. You can follow Tara and her family’s adventures on her blog, Mama Mgeni.