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Unite to Light

(Photo by Mark Semegen for Direct Relief)

Organization Mission

This is a joint project between Unite to Light and Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine. Access to clean and affordable energy is critical to improving health, education, and prosperity globally; therefore, Unite to Light is dedicated to providing low-cost solar lighting and power to those without electricity. Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine (DWW-SBSM) is a local clinical nonprofit organization, established in 2008, dedicated to providing free volunteer medical care for the most vulnerable in Santa Barbara County when and where they are in need, including in times of disaster. In addition, DWW-SBSM provides excellent education, mentorship, and training for DWW-SBSM volunteers in order to promote the practice of humanitarian health care in our hometown and elsewhere.

Social Change Project:

For the chronically unsheltered, access to a working phone is critical for employment, medical, and homeless services, and access to a solar-powered light can assist with safety and ability to improve self-care. Unite to Light aims to provide solar-powered phone chargers and solar lights to some of the most at-risk homeless people. In partnership, DWW-SBSM will distribute chargers to clients actively establishing routine medical and/or mental-health care. Light distribution will focus on clients who have especially challenging habitation situations. Access to solar light and power will ensure recipients can be reached and call for services when needed and simply be able to see and read at night. All donations collected under this effort go directly towards providing DWW-SBSM patients with solar light and power!

It’s hard to put into words just how much the solar charger has helped me. Even if I find a place to charge my cell phone, it’s dead by the afternoon. I had to call the auto club twice and tell them my phone is going out so talk fast. The same when I had to call 911 after an accident. My phone just does not hold a charge. Now I’m looking for work and the charger has been so much help! Some interviews are done over the phone and that was a real problem, but now things are so much better. I hope to better my life, get a job and a place to live. I read once that you can get down so low that you have to reach up to touch bottom! Well, thanks to you all, I have passed bottom and on my way up and out!

- Fran F.