Solar Backpack :The Power is in your step – Lupita Nyong’o

Solar Backpack - Soular Backpack

Solar backpack helps Kenyan children get rid of dangerous kerosene lamps

A solar backpack and light improving childrens lives in Kenya –  image courtesy CBC

Salima Visram the 23 year old entrepreneur behind Soular Backpack was born on the outskirts of Mombasa, Kenya and is no stranger to poverty. The image of thousands of young children studying at night using toxic kerosene lamps stayed with her.  After moving to Montreal to study at McGill University she decided to do something about it.

She launched Soular, a solar backpack company that made special backpacks equipped with solar panels and a portable lamp inside the backpack which is charged during the daytime and can be used at night.  Visram was inspired those children in Kenya who were unable to study every day to get into secondary school, thus perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty. Now her innovative solution allows families to move away from the toxic and carcinogenic effects of kerosene lamps and helps children have 4 to 5 hours of steady light for study every day.

Help from Disney and Lupita Nyong’o

Visaram had help from Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o and Disney to publicize the Solar Backpack. In the Disney move Queen of Katwe, the main protagonist a young Ugandan girl playing competitive chess had only kerosene lamps at  her home. Lupita Nyong’o coined the slogan on the Solar Backpacks :  “The power is in your step.”

One plus one program gets a solar backpack’s to kids in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania

Visram is now making her solar backpack in Kenya, and her program gives a free backpack to a child Kenya, Uganda or Tanzania for every Solar Backpack purchased on her website. Each backpack bears Nyong’o quote the backpack itself: “The power is in your step.”

Visram launched Soular, her solar backpack venture with a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign and exceeded her target by over 25%. Today Soular has distributed hundreds of solar backpacks across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. And Salima says “So far, we’ve distributed solar backpacks to 500 children but we’ve realized that with one solar backpack in the family, on average 3 children are able to study with it,”

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Author: Michael Bennet

A solar energy professional with eight years of marketing and installation experience. Avid and passionate about the adoption of solar and related technologies in all homes. Blog about all things solar at

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