“Taa Bora” springboards practical applications of light for African countries

In 2005, Green Energies, LLC and President Tony Cervone launched their signature and simply-built solar flashlight for the rural village Kambi ya Simba in Tanzania to allow the villagers to have access to affordable sources of light instead of relying on costly kerosene lamps and oil imports.

The Taa Bora, meaning “better light,” is made from recycled materials – plastic bottles, paper, and wood – and can function as either a handheld light or a reading lamp. But the possibilities do not end there.  Cervone and Green Energies helped develop a micro factory in Tanzania which is run by the villagers. Green Energies sends the factory a box via UPS at a flat rate with 25 kits, which is lighting for 25 families.

“The micro factory workers have the tools and the expertise,” Cervone says of the villagers. “We teach them how to be manufacturers instead of importers or sales people because they can’t afford it. They are totally independent because we cut out the middleman. This allows them to address the needs of each family at an affordable level and even make a profit.”

The micro factories were created to teach ordinary people the skills to build renewable energy products and adopt various solutions.  Because the needs of each individual family in a rural village like Kambi ya Simba will vary drastically based on class, it was important for Cervone and Green Energies to provide a product that can be adapted into many different applications.

“We teach the micro factory workers how to do an energy assessment to determine what a family needs in terms of lighting and then how to adopt various solutions,” Cervone says. “They can take the guts out of the product and come up with other solutions such as permanent fixtures with light switches.”

Middle schools in the United States have also taken an interest in the cause. Classrooms are provided with a modified Taa Bora and a CD disk with slideshows and lesson plans. Teachers can use the slides to engage students in number of issues such as renewable energy, the environment, and Africa versus the United States. The Taa Bora becomes a project where students can become engaged in multiple areas. As a result, students have volunteered to collect money and buy supplies for students in Africa, and teachers have even decided to visit, Cervone says.

Cervone and Green Energies will be showcasing the Taa Bora at the Energy Independence Day event on Sunday, July 11 in Middletown, RI from 1-4 pm under the wind turbine at 55 John Clarke Rd.  For more information, please visit www.energyindependencedayri.org. For more information about the Taa Bora, please visit www.greenenergiesllc.com.

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