Olafur Eliassion launches Little Sun Foundation

Little Sun Foundation Olafur Eliasson

Designboom, 15.03.2018 : “Olafur Eliasson launches Little Sun Foundation, bringing thousands solar light in rural Rwanda”

Founded in 2012 by artist Olafur Eliasson, the little sun project has provided energy to communities without electricity worldwide — a figure which now reaches more than 1.1 billion people. over the years, Eliasson’s initiative has expanded into a full range of solar products, including little sun diamond, with each new idea demonstrating how profoundly sustainable energy can positively impact people’s lives.

Now, the next step in the project’s journey has come to light, the Little Sun Foundation. with a mission to bring solar energy to vulnerable, off-grid communities — like remote schools, refugee camps, and natural disaster sites — the organization seeks to support children by providing them with light to study, play, and socialize after dark

The solar kids school program is the Little Sun Foundation’s first social project, and has already successfully raised funds for 3,200 solar lamps in rural Rwanda. little sun lamps were distributed to five schools across the kamonyi district throughout february 2018, while all 100 teachers received solar-powered phone chargers, enabling them access to online learning tools. ‘I can now help my parents on the field and use the lamp at night to do my homework,’ tuyisenge, an 11-year-old student told the organizers. ‘also, I’m glad to have a light when I go outside after dark.’

96.5% of the population in the kamonyi district don’t have electricity at home. year round, the sun sets at 6pm, ending all work. at home, families use kerosene lamps, candles, or battery-powered torches, which can be expensive, noxious, and detrimental to eye health. in local solar workshops, the little sun foundation and partner safer rwanda introduce both teachers and students to the benefits of solar technology.

The mission of the Little Sun Foundation is to give energy to people who need it the most,’ Eliasson says. ‘a solar panel gives you access to energy, to light, and that has an enormous impact on your world. it affects education and safety, affects your quality of life in so many ways. together, we can achieve climate justice and energy access for all, which is the UN’s seventh sustainable development goal. as an artist, I believe in our collective power to co-produce reality, to turn thinking into doing and hope into action -– to change the world.’

During milan design week 2017, Olafur Eliasson was awarded THE DESIGN PRIZE, in its inaugural edition, in the category of EXPERIMENTATION for ‘little sun’ and ‘little sun diamond’.

Image : the foundation has successfully raised funds for 3,200 solar lamps in rural Rwanda. Courtesy of the Little Sun Foundation