Written by Michelle Riley
This weeks marks my 10th anniversary with Lifeline Energy, and what an exhilarating ride it has been! Back in 2000, we were using big, black radios with a spring crank. The organization, then known as the Freeplay Foundation, had only been in operation for about 18 months. It had undertaken some important work by that point, including launching our ongoing support for child-headed households in Rwanda and effectively aiding thousands of Mozambique flood victims. But we were little known among the major NGOs and agencies, and had virtually no visibility in the U.S.
Ten years later, more than 10 million people have benefited from our old radios, our Lifeline radios launched in 2003, and our lighting projects. I have had the tremendous honor to learn from and reach out to refugee youth, farmers young and old, women’s groups, and many other remarkable citizens of sub-Saharan Africa. LIfeline Energy enjoys strong partnerships with dozens of proven local charities, government ministries, and many of the most well-known NGOs in the world. Our successful efforts and reliable self-powered products have received numerous awards and recognition.
I look forward to what the future will bring in the next decade, as we grow and continue to seek ways in which to reduce energy poverty, a seemingly intractable obstacle to education and economic development. To be able to put a Lifeplayer or light into someone’s hand and see that person’s world change overnight will always make my heart beat faster. Knowing the innovative spirit of the communities with which we work, I feel confident the best is yet to come!