Philanthropy/Social Enterprise Mix Sheds Light on School Work in India

The Village Outreach Society is a Canada/UK small charity that has operated in India since 2005 and in Haiti for a year.

Their solar lantern distribution project is a good example of finding the right balance between offering a helping hand and getting ‘buy in’ from the recipients.

The reason a source of light is needed is due to  the unreliability of power supply especially in the evening in many Indian villages. Around the time, Indian school children would be doing their homework, the lights go out again.

Candles are a possibility but they have to be bought and can be a fire hazard. Solar lanterns are a great solution as they collect energy during the day to be used at night. Once purchased, they can be used for a long time. A great investment!

However, at $12.00, they could be beyond the reach of many villagers. However, if we give them away, there is the real possibility that they will be sold or even broken down for parts plus the expectation that the charity will supply another one.

The Village Outreach Society choses to subsidize the purchase of the lanterns instead of giving them away outright. They pay $3.00 for every $12.00 lantern bought in their adopted villages. The lanterns are now 25% more affordable and the family has made a significant investment.


One Comment

  1. We are affiliated with an African Charity called SEEDS OF AFRICA, I think they would be very interested in partnering up with you. They help promote education in Africa, and are creating an actual school. The school will be made using money donated, and also will have laptops and be eco-friendly. their website is -is there someone here I can contact regarding a possible affiliation?

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