Glasgow-based social entrepreneurs Jeremie Warner, 27, and Stephen Spiers, 25, hope to make a big difference this Christmas with their wee PAL(Power A Life). The pair have launched the wee PAL power bank, a portable charger for phones and gadgets. Using a buy-one, give-one philosophy, for every charger bought, the company gives a solar light, free of charge, to a child in an African Government school. These lights offer children without electricity the chance to study at night, helping them work towards a better education that can lead to more opportunities in life and a brighter future.
The entrepreneurs developed the idea while researching sustainable development during their ongoing PhDs at the University of Strathclyde.
Jeremie said: “We’re passionate about using business as a tool to make a difference in the world and working directly with impoverished communities, empowering people with the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty. We want to offer a hand-up rather than a hand-out.
“We first travelled to West Africa in 2012 to work with rural villages struggling with poverty and find out what problems they face day to day. We ran a photography workshop with 60 children from local schools, and set them loose with a bunch of cameras. The photos they took gave us real insight into their lives. There were a few surprise selfies in there too!
“What stood out to us most was no photos were taken at night due to the lack of light. Talking to the children and their teachers, it soon became apparent how big this problem is. One of the biggest issues affecting children doing well in school is the ability to do homework at night. Faba, a teacher at one of our partner schools, said there was a huge difference in exam results between students who had light to study and those who didn’t.”
“The work really began when we got back to Glasgow to come up with a solution. Power a life is pretty simple – you charge, they study. We use a buy-one, give-one model, meaning when we sell a wee PAL charger we give a solar light for free to a schoolchild in Africa. One for one. The lights are charged by the sun and provide 3-5 hours of safe light at night, empowering children with the tools they need to study more and achieve a brighter future. We’re working with teachers to measure the positive impact of our first 100 hand-delivered lights.”
To get your slim, lightweight, and portable wee PAL charger visit the Power A Life website. The device is small in size and big on power. Weighing in at 90 grams, it charges an iPhone 6 in just 1.5 hours. It can be used to power up absolutely anything that’s charged via USB – everything from game controllers to Bluetooth speakers. Available in five colours you can buy your wee PAL for £25 + P&P!