For a full description of this series, click here.
DAY 4: Go Light Our World (GLOW)
I’d heard about GLOW over Instagram: a young yogi who seemed to break the barriers of social media madness with her calm, positive, Mother Earth persona, had created a nonprofit dedicated to installing solar solutions in rural communities of developing countries.
What? Is this person real?
Kayla Nielsen created Go Light Our World, a registered 501(c)3, which provides a variety of solar solutions through micro-loan systems to rural, impoverished communities around the world. Solar solutions not only eradicate kerosene-fueled lamps, but they improve the overall quality of life for each recipient by increasing their overall savings and income, as well.
Okay, that’s a lotta words you don’t hear every day. What’s this all mean?
In rural communities throughout the developing world (countries like Malawi, Kenya, India, Philippines), electricity simply doesn’t exist. The infrastructure needed to bring electricity to homes hours away from cities doesn’t exist. So to fuel their energy needs, people rely on kerosene. It’s a really dirty fuel that creates a lot of smoke and causes respiratory and heart conditions over time. It’s also a finite resource, meaning it runs out. But it’s easy to get ahold of.
So people use this fuel, despite the long term adverse health effects and the fact that it’s not going to be a viable resource forever. Kayla knew the solution: solar power. But installing solar power isn’t cheap and it’s not something these communities know anything about. So she has been working on the ground WITH communities to establish micro loans. Without getting into too much detail, it’s like telling a classroom of kids that if they want to have a class pet, they all have to chip in to take care of it. If one person doesn’t pull their weight, they lose the pet and everybody will think that one kid’s uncool. So, in these communities, everybody has to pitch in so that everybody reaps the benefits.
GLOW currently has projects in eight countries and is expanding every year, which simply means these projects are meaningful and changing lives. Women can cook and children can do their homework after sundown.
GLOW receives most of its funding from yoga retreats hosted all around the world by Kayla and other renowned yogis. In October 2017, I attended a retreat in Bali in hopes of rejuvenating and revitalizing a stagnant life. Without question, the retreat did just that. In April 2019, I’ll be joining Kayla again, this time in Kenya. Her retreats are pure magic: nothing feels forced or overdone, you are encouraged to live your best self (not some super bendy yogi’s best self), and everyone is loved and welcomed.
I urge you to consider joining a yoga retreat for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you can’t, consider donating to GLOW. The projects have proven impact and I can’t wait to see how the story continues to unfold worldwide.
Note: Because I packed lightly for my road trip, I wore this shirt on another day while traveling. In the middle of Oklahoma, an older woman working the hotel reception desk commented on the shirt. She loved it! She said it was a lovely message. Excitedly, I told her about the nonprofit–that it’s using solar power to help rural communities in poor countries that don’t have electricity. She was so impressed and we both left the conversation with smiles on our face. Now, that’s the point of illuminating our world, right? It was the most positive, feel-good moment of talking about my tshirts with strangers throughout the trip.