Florence lives in a small village on the outskirts of Gulu in northern Uganda. Her house stands out next to her neighbours- unlike their traditional grass-thatched toucles, Florence has a small brick bungalow surrounded by an eight-foot wire fence. Thieves have been a problem in the area, and last year Florence was robbed. With four children and a newborn baby in the house, Florence isn’t taking any chances.
“Last month I had a visitor who came here for their meeting. I said why me, why me? It is because the Indigo brought the light, they have chosen my home, I can welcome people into my home. It was a good day for me.”
Despite having a more impressive house than her neighbours, Florence isn’t connected to the grid. In fact, no one is. Locals use candles and paraffin to light their homes, and have to travel to town to buy them. When the weather is bad it’s too muddy to walk to the centre to buy candles, so families sit at home in the dark and wait for the rain to pass.
Florence’s options are limited. The grid doesn’t extend to her village, and she doesn’t have the savings for the upfront cost of a solar home system. Last year she started using Indigo, and buys a scratch-card once a week to enjoy clean, permanent light, no matter what the weather.
Before Indigo, Florence faced the same risks as the other ‘Mamas’ in her village. Many women work through the night, leaving their children to sleep by candlelight. Recently, one of Florence’s neighbours returned from her night-job to find her house levelled by fire, her four children gone. Florence was so deeply affected by this tragedy that she has decided to become an Indigo Distributor in her local community, to allow her neighbours to have access to the same clean, safe lighting as she does.
Florence says “I want to become a serious dealer. A serious dealer of Indigo! I speak this from deep inside of my heart, because I do not want the children to be burning inside of the house.”
Florence’s own children are already benefitting from Indigo. Her three oldest are in Primary and Secondary school, and Florence has noticed a change in their grades already because they are able to read their books at night. Even the youngest, only a few months old, is able to make use of the light- Florence can leave him to play safely underneath it in her bedroom while she reads her bible in the evenings.
“People are seeing us as rich people because of the Indigo, so our lives have changed. We want each and every one around us to get the light. We want this place to look beautiful, to look like a city. ”
Florence is proud to be an Indigo user. Having Indigo makes her feel safe- she can leave the light on in her house to discourage thieves, the panel is too small for them to see on the roof, and she knows if she leaves her children have safe light to play and read by. Florence is excited to be an inspiration to fellow women in the village, spreading the word of safe, affordable lighting. She is gradually filling her home with all the benefits of living in a city, without having to move away. As she says: “No light, no life.”
Primary research carried out in Uganda by Azuri personnel in April 2013.