Taiwan & Swindon Link Up to Help Four Countries in Africa

Dr Shen with Jeremy Holt of Clark Holt Solictors,
the Mayor of Swindon cllr Nick Martin,
Roger Mugridge, Justin Tomlinson MP
Thanks to an offer from the government of Taiwan to North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson, with assistance from Swindon based charity Lights for Learning and Swindon Link magazine, hundreds of young people and teachers in several African countries will have light to return home after school.

The ambassador of Taiwan Dr Lynshen Shen visited Swindon on 29 July to present 200 hand held solar powered lighting units carrying the flags of Taiwan and the United Kingdom and the words ‘Love from Taiwan’ to Lights for Learning.

Justin had attended the embassy Christmas party in December and met parliamentarians from Taiwan who discussed community work in Africa and showed off the hand held solar powered lights.

He said: “They asked me if I knew of any charities that might assist in giving them away and I immediately mentioned Lights for Learning; the Taiwanese said they would be interested in supporting them.

Dr Shen said "Taiwan is one of the world's largest manufacturers of LED lights and we have distributed some three hundred thousand of these portable solar lighting units in several African countries.This is a small contribution but we hope this could be the start of something bigger."

Lights for Learning founder Roger Mugridge said the handheld units would be a tremendous benefit to children and teachers. “Our volunteers fit solar powered lights to schools without electricity across Africa and teach local people how to do the job themselves. It means children can study after the sun has gone down.

“But where there is no electricity there are no street lights, so going to the toilet block, or walking several miles along rough tracks or roads to get home is dangerous. Children often hurt themselves falling into pot holes and run the risk of being attacked by wild animals. The handheld lights could be life savers.”
lights for learning Roger added that he had tested a prototype with children on a three week trip to Zimbabwe in May. “They also found it really useful for studying after dark; three or four would cluster around a table to work together. The unit has an impressive battery life; it worked for several hours a night for eight days before recharging.”

Roger has plans to send the lights to schools in Gambia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and to Bukina Faso through another charity working in the country.

The original article can be found at swindonlink.com here