Island School parent alumna, Gigi Goldman (Danny Goldman, S'13) is connected with Laura Satchel who has been nominated as one of CNN's Heros of the Year 2013. She is doing some amazing work in an effort to lower maternal mortality in state hospitals in Africa. During her time there in 2008, she witnessed deplorable conditions in state facilities including sporadic electricity that impaired maternity and surgical care. Without a reliable source of electricity, nighttime deliveries were attended in near darkness, cesarean sections were cancelled or conducted by flashlight, and critically ill patients waited hours or days for life-saving procedures. Laura told her husband, Hal Aronson, a solar energy educator, about the rough conditions of the hospitals and her desire to make it better. Hal created a suitcase-sized portable solar panel that can be used as an operating room light or a source of electricity to charge headlamps and walkie-talkies while they await the larger solar installation. If you would like to vote for Laura Satchel as the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year, vote here!

The organization creating and distributing these portable, life-saving suitcases is called We Care Solar. They have received so many requests from people wanting to contribute to the cause so they have created a way for individuals to get involved. The cost of one of the Solar Suitcases is $1000. When you send in the $1000, We Care Solar mails you the parts included in a kit, you assemble the suitcase, and then send it directly to a hospital in need.

The Lawrenceville School Island School Club is in the process of raising $500 to go towards purchasing a Solar Suitcase. If they raise that money, The Island School will match them the remaining $500 so the club can get a kit to assemble together. Be sure to check back to the blog for updates on fundraising and Solar Suitcase assembly! If you are interested in this challenge or getting more information about We Care Solar, email alumni@islandschool.org.