Manuel is a fisherman who lives with his family in Makili village on Atauro Island, Timor-Leste. His family used to rely on kerosene for lighting, spending US$1.50 on one litre of kerosene each week. If there was no kerosene available, or they couldn’t afford it, they had to go without light at night. Even when they had kerosene, they used it sparingly to save money. It was difficult for his children to study and for Manuel to work at night, setting fishing traps for the next day. He was also afraid of the health hazards of kerosene. If his children used kerosene lanterns to study, the next day they would have black soot around their noses from breathing the kerosene smoke. They used to store the kerosene in empty water bottles, and once Manuel mistakenly drank some thinking it was water.
Manuel says it was difficult to save the US$12.50 to buy the d.light S250 solar lantern, but it has been well worth it. He loves the multiple light settings and having free light all evening long – so he can set his fishing traps, and his children can study by a bright, clean light. His biggest reasons for buying the solar lantern were to allow his children to study at night and for the health benefits for his family.