In many ways this was SunFires first initiative and remains a driving inspiration for
continuing to promote Solar Cookers throughout Africa until now, 18 years later.
Lesotho is one of Africas poorest yet proudest Countries.
A Third of the Country is a mountainous region with Mokotlong as its Capital.
While SunFire was in Mokotlong conducting demonstrations Prince Harry was also visiting
and was for a short time in 2004, based in this small Mountain Capital.
We really should have made an effort to demonstrate for the Prince as we would like to
establish a working relationship with his foundation to further both our aims.
(Turns out a girl I grew up with (Samantha) assists with managing the royal household, I
need to re-establish contact to see if a link can be made, its understandably difficult to get
the future kings attention)
On this day we had driven 8 hours through the night taking 8 hours to travel just over
200kms on Lesothos windy, dusty roads and were quite exhausted by the time we reached
SunFire is happy to share a passion for Lesotho with the Prince, anyone privileged enough
to visit Lesotho knows its a truly special Country.
Lesotho is known as the Mountain Kingdom, villages are situated above the Tree line like
Tibet where Solar Cookers are common place. Almost no fuel wood grows above the tree
line (height..??) making it the perfect region to Launch a concentrated Solar Cooker effort
A place where the Technology truly benefits the people that most need it.
Villagers collect small shrubs (actually not native) that produces lots of smoke, lung and
eye disease are a real issue but to the present day few options other than Biomass or very
expensive and polluting paraffin (Kerosene to the rest of the world) are available. Donkeys
are often used to help carry the heavy load.
When we arrived at the site of the Mpetso (meeting), none of the leaders of National Govt
from Maseru, Regional Govt from Mokotlong, Local Chiefs or reps from the UN and world
bank were there yet. We decided to set up at a local School and Demo for the Children as
part of education. A theme that runs through all of SunFies work for the past 20 years.
While Demonstrating at the School the Mpetso convened and there was understandably
strong interest in the Solar Cookers.
I’ll never forget the faces of the Community as we packed up the Solar Cookers and drove
away from them.
It broke my heart that simply because they did not have enough coins in their pockets we
could not supply them with a technology they need to truly improve their lives.
To this day when people ask if Africans really want Solar Cookers I think of their faces and
say absolutely. (We have since supplied thousands of rural villages but no where near
enough and never back to this exact village)
To date no Solar Home System project in Africa includes Solar Cookers, meaning homes
are supplied lights and charging capabilities but still need to walk miles each day to collect
their basic Cooking Fuel Needs.
SunFire Solutions will not stop until this situation is resolved.
We remain committed to the people of Lesotho and hope that the Govt will allow us to
bring Solar Technology at no costs across the border so we can supply the Mountain
Kingdom with a Tech we know can make a difference on many levels.
Unfortunately nothing ever came of this project, I believe Linakankang is still in the Dark.
(insert map point).
SunFire has returned to Lesotho many times since 2004, most recently in December 2017
The Landscape of Lesotho makes it difficult to supply with conventional electricity, poverty
remains a real barrier. SunFires strategy is to team up with orgs such as Prices Harrys
foundation to reach the poorest people.
Cooking is such a fundamental energy it should be considered part of Govts responsibility
to provide, SunFire would love to work with the Lesotho Govt to set up a National Solar
Cooker program to reach the estimated 1 Million people living without access to basic
For Lesotho Solar Cooking is really the way forward.
SunFire is currently working with INR a KZN based org with 3 co-ops. The Co-ops are a
collective of individuals within each location that pool financial resources in order to access
Solar Cookers, Lights, Geysers and other Tech.
SunFire will keep you updated as we make progress on this project and continue to make
efforts to reach the Mountain Kingdom.
We are a small company and can only do so much on our own.
If you are moved to donate a poverty kit to a Lesotho Family, SunFire can ensure it
reaches a family in need through our existing local network.