Monday, June 4, 2007

The BoGoLight: Guy Gadget, Grad Gizmo, and Do- Good Gifting, all in One!,

Over breakfast a few weeks ago my husband shared an amazing article he was reading in the NYTimes about an extraordinarily enterprising, visionary, and inspiring fellow, Mark Bent. After much trial and error Bent has designed a superior solar flashlight - and dedicated himself to distributing them for free to the world's poorest, paid for by marketing them to us in the West, a glorious example of philanthropic capitalism. The picture above is of energetic orphaned Rwandan boys playing with their BoGoLights - life doesn't get much more challenging than growing up in a Rwandan orphanage.
Mark's flashlight shines for 7 hours on a day's sunlight charge. The batteries last 3 years, and can be replaced for 80 cents. Access to sustainably harvested night light has immense impact on health and quality of life, as well as improving environmental quality for us all. Instead of using wood, kerosene, or disposable - and very expensive - batteries, it means that the families don't have to spend their time gathering wood to burn or spend precious money for supplies, and that they are safe indoors at night. The are dozens of positive impacts, but one of the most surprising is that night light can lower AIDS transmission. It seems that making light available increases the range of possible of social activities, decreasing sexual activity. Not foolproof, but very interesting! It also improves literacy since children can read and study at night.
A BoGo Light costs $25.00 + shipping, purchased through PayPal. The purchaser receives one, and an identical light is sent to needy recipients. BoGo stands for "Buy One, Give One". I am a total sucker for win-win solutions and this one goes to the top of my list. When I give a gift, I often divide my gift budget in two, buying a material gift with half and making a contribution in the recipient's honor with the other half. The BoGoLight does it for me!
The website is being refined, since they have had huge traffic since the NYTimes article. It took a bit of time to find the portal for purchasing, but it seems to have been improved already. I decided that even though I really didn't need a flashlight, my husband and son would probably each enjoy one. The BoGoLights arrived over the weekend, along with inspiring literature. The lights work just as promised, though solar light is whiter than the incandescent light of flashlights we're used to, so it's a little surprising. A BoGoLight would make a great gift for a graduate, especially for car emergencies or camping. They're perfect for reading in bed when the lights are supposed to be out, or for not annoying your college roomate. And what a great Father's Day gift: Dad gets a cool tool and simultaneously lights up the world of a kid with no dad at all.
Mark Bent is a regular guy with tenacity, a huge heart, and giant-size commitment, who is doing extraordinary things. Think of the difference he is making in people's lives! He responded to my email about the website issue personally, and even appears to have hand-signed the literature in the shipment! Did I say I am impressed? Wow!

No comments: