Uyelele — Free Light for Everyone is the dream of the Ehlers family, especially for all Namibians who live in shacks across the country and this dream is a possibility.
In 2002 Alfredo Moser from Brazil invented the use of a water-filled plastic bottle which he stuck into the roof of his factory to have light throughout power cuts.
The sunlight reflects and fills the room with light bright enough to read in. Since he used this invention in his factory the makeshift solar light system has been used in various countries to help give light to the poorest of the poor.
The bottle lamp provides light equivalent to a 50W/60W bulb inside a dark shack during daylight hours. It even provides light during bright moon phases or when the shack is under a streetlamp.
In Namibia most shack fires happen during the day when the children are at home using candles to study, according to statistics from the Namibian Police. This is preventable with the bottle lamp.
To install the bottle lamp a person needs to cut a tight and teethed hole of the size of the bottle into a 25x25 cm corrugated iron sheet. The teeth ensure that the bottle does not fall through.
The bottle needs to be filled with water to which a few drops of bleach are added to prevent algae growth. The plate and bottle are then mounted onto the roof in which a hole has also been cut. The hole is then sealed with silicone. The bottle needs to be replaced about every five years.
If the room which needs to be illuminated is bigger, more bottle lamps are installed.
Hendrik Ehlers has build a demo shack on wheels to show people the effectiveness of the bottle lamp.
"I tried to explain to people the concept but no one understood so I built the shack and now people are amazed. They cannot believe that a simple idea like this can light up a whole shack." he said.
The shack on wheels was financed by his company, HEC cc, and the Woermann Brock 'We Care Trust'.
The aim is to find donors and partners who would be able to run a countrywide campaign to install 5 000 free units all over the country and once people experience the bottle lamp themselves this initiative will grow. Anyone who is interested in Uyelele can contact Ehlers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He will also be at the Namibia Climate Change Fair at the Habitat Centre on August 9 and 10 with his shack on wheels.