Leo Tolstoy once said, “Add your light to the sum of light,” and so even darkness is brightened by the countless candle flames of people illuminating their individual corners of the night. So Mama Dolfine, overcame the tragedy of her own personal darknesses to found the Korando Educational Center —a non-formal school and orphanage on the outskirts of Kisumu, Kenya. She started with seven boys—and now gives her love and care to more than 200 children, over 30 of whom live in her own house.
And the sum of light continues to expand. Volunteers cross oceans to be part of this remarkable vision—and it’s not just caring for orphans, but creating an ethos of sustainability. Contributions have helped nurture the dream, too, providing electricity and potable water and making considerable progress to food security through sustainable organic farming.
One of the many organizations supporting Mama Dolfine’s efforts, the Rotary Club of Hubbard, Ohio, USA, donated a SolSource Classic.
As in so many other parts of the world, the SolSource is emblematic of a new approach to enhancing the quality of life, especially in resource constrained areas. Mama says, “Solar cooking helps us in a lot of ways. We can easily cook rice and vegetables and even meat. It helps financially. The energy from the sun is free, so it saves us from buying more fuel, wood, and charcoal.”
In addition, “Smoky fires irritate lungs and can cause diseases”, Mama Dolphine said referring to the toxic smoke from traditional cooking stoves that kills 4.3 million people each year according to the World Health Organization. When we use the SolSource she said, “we don’t have to cook in a kitchen full of smoke.”
She also observes that SolSource “could have a positive impact on erosion,” because as in so many places where people are living at the edge of sustenance, cooking still relies heavily on firewood, contributing to the scourge of global deforestation and the erosion that follows when the land has been cleared of flammable vegetation.
“We are trying to be self-sustaining in many ways,” she says. “It brings us a big step forward. We can rely less on outside sources.”
And beyond its immediate benefits as a clean cookstove, SolSource can help reinforce the ethos of sustainability Mama Dolfine is trying to instill in her young wards.
“When the children saw it, everybody wanted to see how it is done. They were very fascinated by it. We believe it is an inspiration for the children. We can teach them how to use the energy of the sun and how solar energy works. If they have the knowledge now, maybe, once they grow up, they get inspired and they can use that knowledge in the future, maybe even for sustainable technologies.”
So the children at Korando Educational Center themselves become repositories of light: as the Solsource gathers and focuses solar energy, they will, in time, absorb and reflect the lessons of love; of the power of dream; of the virtues of sustainability, generosity, and hope that are as brilliant and perpetual as the sun itself.