Rehema and Her Solar Lamp

Rehema and Her Solar Lamp

Publication info

Soster Kizigha and Baraka Mgohamwende, CARE Tanzania

In the small village of Maboleo in northeastern Tanzania, Rehema Sharia is a 13-year-old girl living with her grandmother. Like many young girls, she dreams of becoming a doctor. But darkness was a major obstacle to achieving her dream.

Before Rehema leaves for school every morning, she has to perform chores around the house. “I wake up around 4 a.m., do the cleaning, make breakfast for me and my younger brother, get ready for school and by 6:15, I leave for school.”

When she returns from school, the rest of her domestic chores begin. And when she is done, the  dark has fallen. In the countryside, the dark is as absorbing as it is prevailing. The limited number of daylight hours – and the lack of electricity – presented a serious challenge to Rehema’s studies.

“I would have to wait for others to fall asleep before I could use the kerosene lamp for my studies, and by then I would be so tired that I would eventually fall asleep while trying to study,” she says. Rehema was not doing well in school for one simple reason: She could not study at 
home since there was no electricity.

One day, a community-based trainer and village agent brought news that transformed Rehema’s life. The trainer, supported through CARE Tanzania’s wPOWER initiative, reached Rehema’s village with news about alternative energy that was free for all – from the sun.

CARE promotes the use of such technologies by empowering women entrepreneurs to become last-mile distributors of clean energy products to rural populations. When the training was completed in Rehema’s village, each family received a small loan to purchase a clean energy product. Rehema’s grandmother chose a solar lamp, which has transformed the lives of the entire family.

“I no longer have to use the dangerous and expensive kerosene/paraffin lamps,” the grandmother says.

And now that Rehema can do her studies at night, she is performing very well in school. She recently climbed to third position, out of 75 pupils in her class! “I really enjoy studying 
nowadays,” she says. “I have the option of waking up at midnight to study and do extra homework.”

Now, Rehema has gotten a shot in the arm to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor.


Rehema Sharia studies by the glow of a solar lamp. CARE International in Tanzania is implementing the wPOWER program, which promotes the use of clean energy technologies.