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Solar-Power Inflatable Lights: A New Invention

The company also sells the LuminAID light to customers through their Give Light, Get Light program.

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Solar power system, Pixabay
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People need light for daily activities, but in some places in the world, access to reliable power is a problem, and hurricanes and earthquakes can make the matter worse.

Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork understand how important light is to people in need. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Sreshta and Stork, then graduate students in architecture and design at Columbia University, wanted to do something to help.

“We wanted to create something, a basic necessity and we focused in on lighting,” says Sreshta.

As a school assignment, Sreshta and Stork designed a lighting product that was lightweight, portable and wireless and with solar power something that might help improve the safety and living conditions of Haitians.

The result was the LuminAID light. An inflatable plastic, waterproof rectangle light that can be recharged with solar power.

Solar Power
LuminAID Portable Solar Lighting. VOA

What was only a school project for Stork and Sreshta turned into a more serious endeavor when friends and contacts began sending the lights to those in need.

“We made this in our kitchens and we built the first 50 prototypes by hand,” says Stork.

In their final year of architecture school, Sreshta and Stork filed a patent for the portable lamp, which had solar power and shortly after graduating, the two traveled to India and conducted field tests on their prototype.

Solar Power
LuminAID co-founders Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta. VOA

Stork says visiting villages without stable access to electricity but ready for solar power products was really meaningful to them.

“It helps us understand the houses and the conditions that these people were living in. And what was so interesting is one of the villages that we’ve visited the house was made out of really thick cement, so even in the daytime, it was completely dark inside the house. So we saw a real need for portable lighting,” Stork says.

Also Read: India’s Government Hosts First Ever CSR Awards

In 2011, Sreshta and Stork launched their business LuminAID. They admit that when they started their business, they didn’t know much about disaster relief and humanitarian aid.

“We knew we had a product that could potentially make a difference in people’s lives after disasters like the earthquake in Haiti or even in places where people lack stable electricity,” says Sreshta. “We have been fortunate enough to work with partners like non-government organizations, humanitarian groups and disaster relief organizations which distribute our lights to people in need.”

The company also sells the LuminAID light to customers through their Give Light, Get Light program. And for each purchase by an individual, the program sends a light to someone in need.

“Seeing our lights being used by people around the world creates a mix of emotions for us,” says Stork and Sreshta. “From feeling relieved that we were able to produce and deliver our product, to being humbled by the ability to touch the lives of people we will likely never meet.” (VOA)

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India Gets Its Sex Offender Registry

The latest statistics from India's National Crime Records Bureau show the number of sexual crimes rose 12 percent between 2015 and 2016.

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People hold placards at a rally condemning the rapes of two girls, aged 8 and 11, in Ahmedabad, India
People hold placards at a rally condemning the rapes of two girls, aged 8 and 11, in Ahmedabad, India. VOA

India has launched a sex offender registry. The establishment of the database comes as the country is experiencing a daily wave of sexual crimes.

The information in the registry, however, will only be available to law enforcement officials. In contrast, in the United States, the public has access to information in sex offender registries.

India
Indian women participate in a candle light vigil at a bus stop where the victim of a deadly gang rape in a moving bus had boarded the bus two years ago, in New Delhi, India. VOA

A home ministry statement said the 440,000 names in the Indian database includes people convicted of rape, gang rape, child sex crimes and sexual harassment. The registry also includes photos of the offenders, plus their addresses and fingerprints.

The latest statistics from India’s National Crime Records Bureau show the number of sexual crimes rose 12 percent between 2015 and 2016. The figures for 2016 show there were more than 100 reported rape cases in India every day. (VOA)