Unlocking the power of partnerships: SolarBuddy and The Origin Energy Foundation

For the last two years, the strong partnership between SolarBuddy and The Origin Energy Foundation has seen hundreds of Origin volunteers giving up their time in support of SolarBuddy’s goal of gifting six million lights to children living in energy poverty by 2030.

The alignment of values was clear from the start, with the focus on education to help break the cycle of disadvantage and empowering young Australians to reach their potential.

Educating locally, Impacting Globally
To date, Origin volunteers have presented the EducationBuddy program to more than one hundred schools across Australia and assisted thousands of students with the assembly of SolarBuddy’s solar lights donated to children living in energy poverty.

Through this program, students learn more about renewable energy and the collective impact science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) have on humanity which aligns with the Foundation’s focus on STEM education. Students also gain a deeper understanding of ethical and intercultural global issues in a unique and impactful way.

The donation of solar lights has been distributed into the hands of children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) by a team of Origin volunteers alongside representatives from SolarBuddy and in Tanzania, enabling them to study after dusk resulting in the improvement of educational outcomes. Utilising solar lights have also been beneficial to their environment, health, and family budget because an average family spends up to 80% of their annual income on lighting and cooking fuels.

“It was rewarding to see the impact of the work of Australian school students and Origin volunteers – with the introduction of SolarBuddy lights, children in PNG are studying 78% longer and kerosene and other dangerous fuels have been reduced by 80%. Since these fuels are also the single biggest expenditure for households, that money can now be spent on food and health and education.”
– Leslie Taviri, CEO of Origin’s PNG operations

Bushfire Relief

In January 2020, more than half of all Australians were directly affected by the summer’s bushfire crisis. SolarBuddy teamed up with Eurobodalla Shire Councillor, Lindsay Brown, Shaun Martyn, Founder of FairBreak and Mary Dullard, Head of Wholesale Development at Origin Energy to assist in its recovery efforts.

Volunteers from Origin assembled more than 800 SolarBuddy solar lights which were donated to bushfire affected communities, community organisations, emergency services as well as recovery and evacuation centres in New South Wales and Victoria.

“The plight of Australians impacted by the bushfires has touched Origin people who have used the Foundation’s matched giving program to donate more than $100,000 so far.”
– Ruth Lee, Manager of Origin Foundation’s Workplace Giving Programs

Due to intermittent power outages, the donation of solar lights was a welcome relief for recipients struggling to work or walk safely after dusk.

SolarBuddy is deeply grateful for partners such as the Origin Energy Foundation and their volunteers for their contribution towards the recovery efforts of individuals, families and communities affected by this devastation.

Social Impact Project for Home-Based Learning

The global pandemic has transformed the landscape for businesses,
education, and families. During the period of lockdown across Australia,
SolarBuddy launched The FamilyPack program to enable families and teams to stay connected while socially distanced.

This fun and engaging home-based activity saw the participation of more than 300 employees from Origin and their families who assembled solar lights and attended virtual presentations where they learnt about energy poverty and challenges confronting families in developing countries.

The Impact of Origin Foundation

Over the course of two years, the Foundation has donated a total of 8,221 solar lights to children living in energy poverty and families devastated by the Australian Bushfires. The amazing impact of solar lights has a long-lasting impact on recipients. To put it into perspective, the gift of 8,221 solar lights has resulted in:
– 41,105 lives impacted
– 18,003,990 increase in education hours over three years
– 1,274,255 carbon emissions offset over the lifespan of the light which boosts health benefits
– 80% reduction in kerosene expenditure resulting in economic benefits for the family
– 2,1374 seedlings grown for ten years with positive outcomes for the environment

“We would like to extend a huge thank you to Origin Energy Foundation for their ongoing contribution to illuminating futures of children living in energy poverty. Together with you, we will continue to create better lives for young Australians through EducationBuddy with the help of your volunteers.”
– Billie Murphy, General Manager of SolarBuddy

Join Us and Be a Force for Good

If you have been inspired by the actions and outcomes of this partnership, we invite you to become a catalyst for positive change. For more information, please contact Billie Murphy, General Manager of SolarBuddy on email enquiries@solarbuddy.org



SolarBuddy is an impact organisation uniting a global community to illuminate the futures of all children.

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