Joseph Owili is not a teacher by profession but every evening, after the sun goes down, he opens up his home to local children and offers science and maths tuition. The night we visit, Joseph is giving a biology class to nine children. Sometimes he can have as many as 15 children, in one small room, all lit by two d.light S2s hanging above the study table.
Joseph has been teaching in his home for two years. He teaches all ages, with younger classes earlier on in the evening, followed by older kids later.
Referring to other lights he has used in the past, such as battery operated devices and tin lamps, Joseph tells me, “With the presence of this light, it is more okay. We could not predict or rely on electricity and light from other sources. But the solar light is a constant. You can rely on it”.
Joseph bought one S2 last year, then another the following year and so on, as he made savings on kerosene. He tells me the children are performing better now, compared to before when they used kerosene lamps, and books used to get burned by tired children.
Joseph’s wife Carolyn adds “You can see the feedback is good because the number of children increases. When we started teaching, we started with our only daughter… then one more, then it continued and continued… and now we have a maximum of 15 students”.
For Joseph it is ‘a call’ as he is not attached to any school. It is his dream to help children better their future with educational support. Although Joseph specializes in science and maths, he covers all subjects, depending on the children’s needs.
Joseph has been a good advocate for the product too. “People ask ‘Who has sold you this? Can we also get?’ And within this place, very few houses are not using the d.light…very few. The majority here are using them. They have really embraced d.light”
Joseph’s home is in Nyalenda, an informal urban settlement on the edge of Kisumu; Kenya’s third largest city. The slum has a population of around 65,000 and only 20% of which have proper grid connection. The remainder of Nyalenda’s inhabitants either have no connection at all – like Joseph - or they have illegal self-connections which are both unreliable and dangerous.