The invention that is helping children and adults in communities where electricity is not always available has been given endorsement by the UK’s International Development Minister Alan Duncan.
The minister visited Nova Hreod in October to hear from students about their work to build closer links with Harold Cressy School in Cape Town, South Africa.
After a suggestion from Swindon Link, North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson, with assistance from the school, was able to arrange a presentation by Swindon based charity Lights for Learning.
Inventor Roger Mugridge showed an increasingly fascinated Mr Duncan the simplicity of his solar lights that have been installed by volunteers in The Gambia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Lesotho and The Philippines.
Roger also demonstrated his new invention which allows computers to be run using a battery charged by solar panels, without the need for a stable, mains electricity supply.
The minister told Roger that he was going to have an official in his ministry guide the charity in how to apply for funding so that Lights for Learning can be extended to more communities in remote areas.
Afterwards Roger was delighted by the response. “We’ve been trying to reach people in government to tell them about Lights for Learning for a long time.
“We’ve met Justin Tomlinson through The Link on two previous occasions; you could say it was third time lucky. It was great he was able to arrange for us to meet the minister.
“In the 20 minutes he gave us Mr Duncan put really searching questions. He seemed to like the idea that I’ve never been interested in making money from the lights. I’m really glad he was able to see how uncomplicated yet safe the system is. As he left he told us the simple things always work best.”
Justin Tomlinson said Alan Duncan was still talking about Lights for Learning several days after his visit to Swindon.
“I met him in Parliament and Lights for Learning had made an impact on him. He’s obviously fascinated by the technology and he could see how a modest investment could give so much to people in parts of the world without services like electricity that we all take for granted.
“Roger and his team of volunteers at Lights for Learning represent the very best that the voluntary sector can offer.”
During November Roger Mugridge has had enquiries about installing solar lights in Vietnam, Thailand and Ethiopia.
Pictured: Roger Mugrudge showing Alan Duncan his demonstration solar powered lights, with Justin Tomlinson MP and Lights for Learning volunteer Peter Genet.