Kenyan Hero Replaces Dirty Indoor Lamps With Solar LEDs

Evans Wadango invented a solar LED lantern and is giving away thousands to rural families throughout his native Kenya. Not bad for a 23-year old.

Earlier this month, CNN announced its 2010 CNN Heroes, described as "Everyday People Changing the World." One of the top 10 heroes is Evans Wadango, a 23-year-old Kenyan who has invented a solar-powered LED lantern to replace the dirty, smoky kerosene and wood fires that most rural African families use for light. And he's distributing them for free.


The invention, called the MwangaBora (Swahili for "good light"), can now be produced for about $20 per lantern, for which he raises funds through his Use Solar, Save Lives project.

Wadango guesses that he has already given out at least 10,000 of these solar lanterns, which he believes can help improve studying conditions for students, air quality within homes, all while alleviating poverty and hunger, since families no longer need to spend their very limited funds on wood or fuel.

"I want to reach out to as many rural communities as possible," he told CNN. "The impact is saving lives."