Educating | Informing | Illuminating

Why I give to Lifeline Energy #WRD

by Linda Stevens

When my mother died in 2006, she left me some money  ̶  not a life-changing amount, but enough to think about. If you have enough money to stay afloat, I find the most fun you can have with money is throwing it at things that matter to you and hoping it sticks. The word “charity” doesn’t really work for me. Charity’s become synonymous with pity, and I don’t think I really pity anybody.

Rather, I see the concept of giving where good can be done as something else. Maybe “constructive enabling” makes more sense. If what I give can cause something useful to happen, I like to be in the game.

There will always be boatloads of aid for the major catastrophes, the tsunamis, the earthquakes.But there are the little causes, too. Niggling needs that, if met, create progress in the small ways that matter so much to life   ̶  to making it livable, to making it better. Those smaller efforts, the ones that fly under the radar, matter most to me. And often, when you think about them, the small causes aren’t small at all.

Education means everything to children, wherever they are, Eton or Ethiopia. Yet in Africa education, like water, is life. We in the West don’t understand what so many families sacrifice to find the $40 or $50 it may cost to send a child to school. And my husband, once a headmaster in Kitwe, Zambia tells an amazing story. He says that, in his day, a teacher only had to warn a mischievous child once: “If you do that again, I’ll have to tell your father.” Punishment didn’t get much worse than that. Your father gave it to you worse than any headmaster would, and if you got thrown out of a school no other school would take you. Education, they could learn the hard way, is life, and it could be lost so easily. I believe that, too, and where kids want to learn there have to be ways to help them do that.

For anyone wants to know more, there is a way to make a difference.

I found International Tom Hanks Day by accident, and (strangely enough) through Tom Hanks himself. I think I was looking up his Oscars. The search turned up a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for something called International Tom Hanks Day. I figured it had to be some kind of joke, so I looked it up.  It’s not only not a joke, it’s serious. But with a serious twist of fun. The money they raise goes to Lifeline Energy to provide an MP3 player/radio.  It seemed like such a simple idea, but so potentially successful in reaching out to far-flung kids in Africa, that I bought into it right away. I got in touch, liked what I heard, and I’ve been solidly behind them ever since.

screen_shot_2015-03-30_at_4.08.38_pmLast year I went to the flagship bash in Chicago. Lordy it was a gas! It’s just a huge party, a whole bunch of nice people having a great time, with an enormous screen showing non-stop Tom Hanks movies. You wouldn’t believe how many people know every line of dialogue from Turner and Hooch. About every five minutes a fabulously monotonous Tom Hanks chant breaks out somewhere in the room and everybody joins in.

The four original guys who started up THD are everywhere at once, selling raffle tickets and making sure everybody’s having a good time, which is pretty easy. I was amazed that this silly thing they started as college bozos in Kalamazoo has raised many thousands of dollars for Lifeline. They squeeze every penny out of it. This year I can’t go, but my heart (and some money) will be there.

How Tom Hanks got picked for this crazy annual shindig even he doesn’t know. But if you’re a Tom Hanks fan, or just someone who believes in below-the-radar causes (and I’m both), spare a thought for Lifeline. It has so very many thoughts to share.

You can’t solve the problem. You can’t make it go away. But you can whittle away at it, for a dollar, or ten, or 50   ̶  which will bring communication and information to a village or an over-crowded school.

Update in September 2016

img_2576Linda’s generous contribution to Lifeline Energy enabled us to purchase 20 Lifeplayers that have been delivered to Zambia. They’re being used in a new preschool initiative. And at the next Tom Hanks Day, Kellen and Kevin will be able to talk all about it – they’ve just made their first trip to Zambia to see first hand where the funds they’ve raised has been spent!

  • Ken Kingston

    Supply of our 19″ Solar Powered Tv System to disseminate MP4 education content to kids in Africa

    Dear Lifeline Energy Team.

    Happy holidays.Our company-Sunpoynt Ltd,under the brand name Angaza Boma is a solar technology company based in Kenya ,which brings a patented solar powered TV systems to Kenya rural households without access to news,information,solar lighting and phone charging .Our solar Tv system enables off-grid customers to get real-time access to information ,access to clean solar lighting using the 2 solar bulbs that come with our system, enabling them unlimited access to communication by enabling them re-charge their mobile phones from the comfort of their house anytime,24 hours,thus entirely displacing use of harmful and hazardous kerosene lanterns, petrol and diesel generators hence improving indoor air quality and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

    We are expressing interest to partner with Lifeline Energy to supply our innovative 19″ solar powered Tv system access unlimited and uninterrupted education in MP4 format,solar lighting under single innovative solar tv system they have been demanding for a very long time.Our proposal is in-line with your life changing program of delivering education to kids in rural Africa using MP3 solar radios.Our solar Tv is designed to play both MP3 and MP4 where educative video content can be uploaded into flash drives and plugged into the Tv system then played to school kids ,thereby being able to both listen and watch.

    Sunpoynt Tv is a solar powered LED Tv system that hooks up to any solar or refurbished battery.Our high quality 19 inch LED Digital solar powered Television system provides off-grid rural households with unlimited entertainment as well access to agricultural news,information and education. Angaza Tv is a solar powered LED Tv system that is exclusively powered by free,abundant Sun.Our system provides off-grid households in Kenya with access to information,news and much needed entertainment as well a educative programs for school kids and clean solar light for their studies every night.Our Tv system enables customers to get real-time access to information ,access to clean lighting using the 2 solar bulbs that come with our system, enabling them unlimited access to communication by enabling them re-charge their mobile phones from the comfort of their house anytime,24 hours.

    Below is the link to the video showing how our solar Tv works:

    Below find main features of the system;

    1. Access news, information,education ,in-house solar lighting and re-charge your cell phones using free Sun power under one product.
    2. No system recurrent nor installation costs .
    3. Be entertained with Sun Power.
    4. 500mA USB port Charging cell phones.
    5. 2x 3W LED solar lighting bulbs with 5m cable that replace candles and paraffin lanterns.
    6. Works for 6 hours every night-based on a 20Ah battery.
    7. Works for 8 hours based on a 40Ah battery.
    8. Works for 15 hours daily based on 100Ah battery.
    9. The bigger the battery,the more hours of viewership.
    10.Use own battery.
    11. Works with both solar or car battery.
    12. 10A solar charge controller which protects the battery against over-charging and running flat.
    13. 52W solar with 15 years lifetime.
    14. Easy to install system-purely plug n play.
    15. Free Flash drive included with video clips directing customers on step by step system installation procedures.
    16. Powers all types of decoders- both satellite and terrestrial without extra power requirements.
    17. Decoder connection cables provided.

    Additionally,kindly find herein attached product pictures.

    We humbly suggest if we could meet and discuss further on the best model of partnership.

    Best Regards.

    Kennedy Lamwenya,

    Sunpoynt Group,
    Tel- +254725055887,