Gem Legacy, a nonprofit organization that works to positively impact the East African colored gemstone mining regions through education and training, together with its board member Craig Selimotic Danforth, reached its 2020 goal of funding solar panel installation at the Mwatate Children’s Home in Kenya.
Danforth is also the vice president of client solutions at Jewelers Mutual Group, which donated funds to the effort by matching 50% of employee donations.
“I am overjoyed to see the solar panel initiative realized,” said Danforth in a statement. “This is an accomplishment I’ve been waiting for with great anticipation. And yet, realizing this goal pales in comparison to what the orphans of the Mwatate Children’s Home will now be able to achieve. Given this opportunity, they will truly help light the way for fellow East African children.”
One solar panel can cost $5,120, so the venture was a pricey one. But now, the solar roof is complete, giving the children in the home light at night—the sun sets at 6 p.m. year-round—by which to read books and complete homework. The solar panels are expected to increase the sanitation of the children’s daily lives, too.
“The 28 kids under the care of the Mwatate Children’s Home are so excited about the changes in their life from the solar panel,” said Roger Dery, founder and director of Gem Legacy, in the same statement. “During a pandemic, obviously the enormous sanitary improvements to their daily life are our first priority. Long term, the ability to heat water and have light will continue to impact their holistic growth. We thank Craig and Jewelers Mutual for teaming up with us to make this possible and making a statement by reinvesting in their own industry! This orphanage was founded by local gem dealers and continues to be funded by local members of the gem trade; our support of their efforts to contribute to their community are invaluable.”