An earth science student wants to raise money to help light up lives in Africa.
Karen Olla, 21, from Harold Hill, is planning a sponsored walk from Romford station to Stratford station to help environment charity SolarAid. The University College London student decided help the charity, which helps combat poverty and climate change by providing solar lights to remote regions in Africa, after researching renewable energy policies on her course. After finding that there wasn’t enough renewable energy projects in Africa, she decided to get involved with the charity and help children who will use the lights to help them study. Karen said: “The charity try to find families that have no source of light – without it, children are not able to read and do their homework and children are the leaders of tomorrow, so it’s really important to give them the support they need.” SolarAid also aims to eradicate the use of kerosene lamps in Africa by 2020. The charity say the lamps give off toxic fumes and can be a health hazard to children and a fire hazard to their homes. “I have always been keen to go into the environment sector and make a change, but I thought I could do something for SolarAid too – it’s really inspiring what they do out there,” said the fundraiser. The CO2 emission-cutting charity, which works in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Senegal, also say that kerosene lamps can take up to as much as 15 per cent of a family’s annual income. Karen said: “There’s so many charities that do things for people in Africa but this one’s different and it’s really important.” The student is taking on the 8.6 mile challenge in July and will take about three hours to complete it. Karen has also set herself a minimum fundraising target of £500 and hopes to rally in some student donations too. She said: “I felt like I could create a buzz around my university and get my friends to do their bit.” She added: “My preparation has been going well, I have been in the gym all Christmas!”