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Sunshine Powers Education in Southern Africa

Image Source: Sunshine Cinema

Image Source: Sunshine Cinema

It’s no secret that solar power has a lot of benefits; it’s emission-free, gives the user energy independence, and sometimes can even earn the user money. Now solar power is helping educate hundreds of people throughout Southern Africa on sustainability and environmental issues. This is possible with The Sunshine Cinema, a “mobile, solar-powered cinema that can go anywhere, everywhere.”

The venture all started when National Geographic (NG) documented the efforts of a Zambian man working to combat deforestation. Lloyd Maanyina had worked in Zambia as a charcoal burner, which is a leading cause of forest damage. To avoid bad karma he started a tree nursery, eventually selling saplings to Greenpop, a social enterprise that plants thousands of trees each year. After 18 months of documenting Lloyd, NG made an award-winning film about his efforts.

After the documentary proved to be successful, Greenpop, along with the organization Shift, decided it would be beneficial to screen it to other people in Southern Africa to teach them about climate change, deforestation, and the environment. There was a huge a problem, though; the people most affected lived in extremely remote areas without access to electricity. So the organizations came up with the idea to use solar-generated energy to power a portable cinema projector and screen, and the Sunshine Cinema was born.

Since the development of the project, the organizations have been able to travel to many villages and communities to teach the importance of sustainability. They screen films, instructional videos, and give demonstrations on how to reuse local materials to make water filters, solar cookers, and other energy efficient tools. According to the project’s fundraising page, “Screenings include relevant ‘edu-taining’ shorts, followed by the appropriate technology clips. These are complimented by practical skills transfer workshops that empower communities with knowledge & techniques to continue developing the solutions to their environmental, social & economic needs.”

The best part about the Sunshine Cinema is that it uses renewable energy to give the presentations, exemplifying to participants how well natural resources can work. In a world with so much tension surrounding sustainability, it’s great to see solar power being used in such a simple, yet impactful way! To learn more about how you can help, click here.

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