Our CEO and Founder Simon Doble, an inventor by craft and humanitarian at heart, formulated SolarBuddy with a core need to redefine the way charities do business – shifting away from competition and towards collaboration.
Having already identified the enormity of energy poverty, how it affects so many, and conceptualising the products which could offer solutions, Simon wanted to create his own charity that could leverage the power of working with others towards a common goal, utilising United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #17 – Partnerships for the Goals to achieve Goal #7 – Affordable and Clean Energy for All.
Simon had a vision of SolarBuddy, and the future of all charities globally, as being looked upon like businesses in any other industry – driven by innovative production and achieving its goals through mutually beneficial partnerships that create the greatest impact for those that need it most.
It is because of this vision that we, since our formation in 2016, can call ourselves a self-sustaining charity. We have a model that does not hang on being awarded a crucial grant or beneficiary, but on our own innovative nature to find new solutions to the energy poverty problem, and through leveraging other organisations, as well as everyday Australian people to achieve our mission.
We see SolarBuddy as a bridge to connect and educate our children, community and partners here in Australia, who may not fully understand the harsh reality of living in energy poverty, with NGO partners on the ground overseas who do. We act to connect these groups to ultimately deliver our tangible lighting solutions, assembled by people like you through our education and corporate programs, straight into the hands of the children and communities that need them most.
Holes allow string to be tied through, enabling the light to be worn if needed for safety.
Multi-purpose handle allows light to be hung from ceiling, used for focused study time, as a lamp to light up a room, or held for safety walking at night.
Many of the communities we deliver JuniorBuddies to depend on walking to town for clean drinking water and sanitisation. The effects of Covid-19 meant this was not a possibility for millions, so we innovated our yellow transport buckets to be equipped with two water filters – providing children up to 20,000 litres of fresh drinking water to drink and wash their hands with. Our buckets are also reusable in order to be sustainable and reduce waste.
Since launching, 155,000 JuniorBuddies have been gifted to the hands of children across the globe, providing safe and reliable lighting to and impacting 755,000 lives in total.
The impact does not stop at just providing reliable indoor lighting, each and every JuniorBuddy light also:
A child after switching from kerosene to a JuniorBuddy light to study after dusk, Madagascar 2018.
There are attachment brackets that allow for installation in various places around the home, for multiple family members to use in different ways, and in the community so the device can be shared for greater impact
There are two charging ports which means family members no longer need to walk long distances or use fossil fuel powered generators for charge their devices.
Our StudentBuddies needed to come with a tool case to reduce the risk of damage or loss of the tools and spare parts sent to users. In line with our goal to be conscious designers at every level, we partnered with environmentally conscious organisation Rewilder.
They design cases that are robust enough for repeated use, and are created using previously discarded materials, upcycling them into new products, like our StudentBuddy tool cases.
A StudentBuddy device not only provides the same lighting benefits of a JuniorBuddy, but allows for the charging of devices. It has the impact of: