Improving Lighting, Improving Life in Slums in Zimbabwe

by Teurai Nyamangara

Silivia Chijoko is a widow in her sixties. She is a federation member of the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federationfrom Hatcliffe extension. She lives in a shack together with her children. She is earning a living from selling vegetables.

In December 2022. Silivia was identified by fellow federation members as of poorest members who was so much in need for a light. For Silvia the solar light had 2 major uses that is improved lighting at her vegetable marketplace, ‘musika’ as well as reducing the risk of burning her shack through the use of candles. Silivia managed to be among the first batch of beneficiaries who were given lights through the Covid 19 recovery interventions that are being implemented by the alliance of DOS and Federation funded by Cities Alliance. Today Silvia is very thankful, and she explains how life can be made easier for women living in slums through improved lighting.

Silivia said: “Before the intervention, I was not able to buy candles all the time.”

“In situations where I could not manage to have the candles, I would use papers as a substitution for a candle.

At times me and my kids we would make our bed in the afternoon so that we eliminate the need for a light during night times.

We resorted to this practice of making our bed early after an incident where a candle was left on and it burnt one side of the shack.

The coming of a solar light in our home is a blessing to me because now I no longer buy candles and my kids can read during the night without the fear of burning the shack.

In addition, the light has a radio attached to it therefore I now have access to information and entrainment whilst selling my vegetables. I’m proud to be part of the Federation family because they work with poor and widows.”