Jetstar has just awarded the first of its bi-annual Flying Start grant in 2016 to Nusantara Development Initiatives (NDI), a non-profit social enterprise for its ‘Mothers of Light’ programme.
One out of every four Indonesians does not have access to electricity. Their choices are to rely on kerosene, which can be an expensive and harmful. The alternative is to have no light after dark, preventing children from studying at night.
NDI tackles this problem of energy poverty by empowering women in rural Indonesia, by intitiating the programme, “Mothers of Light” to train women in villages to be solar lamp entrepreneurs. Not only do the women earn a living through the sale of lamps, the potential widespread adoption of the environment-friendly solar lamps will also reduce CO2 emissions.
With Jetstar’s grant of $10,000 cash and $10,000 flights, more Mothers, or Ibu Rumah Terang, will be trained to encourage fellow villagers to switch from kerosene lamps to solar lamps, which only require sunlight to operate.
Jetstar Asia CEO, Mr Barathan Pasupathi and the Flying Start judging panel loved the ingenious concept of promoting sustainable energy and enabling women, especially mothers, to gain financial independence whilst at same time educating and driving social impact in Indonesia.
“Mothers of Light is an example of how simple innovations can improve lives and empower women to light their way out of poverty. The solar lamps are not just the promise of light but will serve to empower future generations socially and economically. This is a step in the right direction!” said Mr Pasupathi.
Executive Director of NDI, Mr Fairoz Ahmad, said he has seen first-hand how charitable handouts did not necessarily benefit communities in need, and it is only through sustainable empowerment that villagers can take charge of their own lives, with pride and dignity.
“We are heartened that Mothers of Light is once again recognised for its positive social impact, and the Flying Start grant not only means more Mothers can join the programme, we’re also able to sponsor students and young professionals for immersion programmes, thereby inspiring more to invest their time in rural volunteerism,” said Mr Fairoz.
With the Jetstar grant of $20,000, NDI plans to train another 40 Mothers who will in turn benefit 4000 families, directly removing approximately 90 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Together with social entrepreneur Ms Elim Chew and social enterprise champion Ms Emily Teng all four judges are excited to see more Mothers graduate and convince communities to adopt solar lamps.
Flying Start judge and Jetstar Asia pilot Mr Jeffrey Pang, was particularly impressed with the structured training provided to the selected Mothers, who have to undergo a two-week entrepreneurship course before being given a sales kit comprising 10 solar lamps, a t-shirt and namecards to recognise them as official partners.
The Mothers are then provided with regular monitoring and evaluation over a period of six months.