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Philippines How It All Began 2013 Page 1


HOW IT ALL BEGAN
PHILIPPINES 2013

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Philippines How It All Began 2013 Page 1


HOW IT ALL BEGAN
PHILIPPINES 2013

JOURNEY TO ILIN ISLAND

Every great idea begins with a life changing event. While accompanying her husband on a business trip to the Philippines, Nancy Economou volunteered to help serve at a local feeding program. While there she met a young girl severely burned and scarred by a kerosene lamp. She witnessed many children left unattended and in complete darkness while their parents worked at night. Nancy could not imagine her own five sons living in such extreme conditions. It was at that moment she knew that a safe, sustainable lighting source needed to be developed and brought to those living without basic access to electricity. Wrapped in uncertainty, out of their comfort zone and 8,000 miles away from home, WATTS OF LOVE founders began their epic journey to design, manufacture and deliver 1,000 solar lights to one of the poorest islands in the Philippines.

When Watts of Love arrived on Ilin Island in February 2013 to initiate its first solar light pilot project, the team met scores of villages suffering in extreme poverty, ill health and forced to sit unproductive at night until dawn.

We discovered that in this part of the world, it was not uncommon to enter a bamboo hut smaller than the average American walk-in closet, which was shared by eight people who may only eat once per day. 

For many, living in a world of darkness means relying on toxic fuels like kerosene for lighting, if a family can afford to buy it. Unfortunately, kerosene is one of the only options available and is very expensive, volatile and deadly. Toxic soot attacks the upper respiratory system and causes chronic coughs and lung disease. All too often, this highly flammable fuel is responsible for causing horrific disfigurements that few can afford to treat with medical attention.

Resolving to do something that would bring sustainable change to Ilin Island, Watts of Love begin eliminating local dependence on kerosene. Their intention was to enable families to save the money they would have spent on the toxic fuel and to provide the opportunity to increase productivity well into the night in order to earn a higher daily income.

Within one day of distributing solar lights, the team learned that light recipients had used their new solar tools to achieve a level of success never before thought possible.

 

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Philippines 2013 Page 2


Philippines 2013 Page 2


The same success was enjoyed by students, seamstresses, midwives and fishermen who marveled at the new opportunities their solar tools had provided. Aside from enabling with up to 130 continuous hours of reliable light, our Watts of Love lanterns feature charging capabilities to charge cell phones and other small electronic devices.

Contrary to popular belief, people in developing regions do have access to cell phones. Cell phone service providers distribute simple models for free and realize even the poor will buy minimal loads in order to stay connected with family. For the cell phone providers, this is a safe investment as they understand that everyone has a need to communicate and connect, but for many there is no way to charge cell phones other than walking great distances to remote charging stations.

Emergencies like natural disasters and political conflict occur regardless of location or income. As such, people from all walks of life strive to stay connected.

Many of our light recipients report using their solar lanterns to earn a profit by charging their neighbors cell phones. This has opened the door for many struggling families who have now begun their own solar micro-business. Many live on the proceeds of the solar lantern to feed and clothe their families.

We know that light translates to life in developing communities, and the success we encountered on Ilin Island can be spread to all the world’s impoverished regions, but this is a goal that is only made possible by the selfless support of people like you.

We all want to be loved, accepted, cared for, happy, told we are good at something, encouraged to succeed and to feel like we belong to something greater than ourselves! We know we could never fulfill all of those hopes and desires but, if giving these children a little joy, photo, candy, time, or a solar light encourages them just a little to NEVER GIVE UP, then we will never stop trying to do our part.


40 WEDDINGS AND EACH COUPLE RECEIVES A NEW SOLAR LIGHT AND THEIR FIRST EVER PHOTO.

We know that light translates to life in developing communities, and the success we encountered on Ilin Island can be spread to all the world’s impoverished regions, but this is a goal that is only made possible by the selfless support of people like you.


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