Switching to Solar: Godfrey and Jullei Ssegawa

BrightLife client Godfrey Ssegawa with his solar home system

Godfrey and Jullei Ssegawa live with five of their children in the central Ugandan district of Mukono. For years, they used a tadoba—a kind of paraffin lantern—to light their home.

The paraffin emitted harmful smoke, which Jullei especially hated. And, when they ran out, Godfrey had to bike 12 miles into town to buy a new 5-liter can. That not only cost them money, it also cut into Godfrey’s time working as a brickmaker and reduced his income.

About a year ago, Godfrey learned from a colleague about BrightLife, FINCA’s social enterprise that provides affordable clean energy products to some of Uganda’s poorest communities. Godfrey was especially excited about BrightLife’s solar home systems, which provide light at the flick of a switch.

Godfrey decided to visit BrightLife, where a sales agent introduced him to the products on offer. Using BrightLife’s pay-as-you-go financing, Godfrey purchased four solar lights that also charge a cell phone and even power a small TV. Now, Godfrey and Jullei are experiencing the benefits of switching to solar.

We were tired of the hot wax from using paraffin. It is better using the solar, because it doesn’t produce smoke like using the paraffin. Using solar instead of paraffin has improved my health so, so, so much!

Jullei Ssegawa

Experiencing the Benefits of Switching to Solar

With the money they’re saving by not having to buy paraffin, plus the extra income Godfrey earns with his freed-up time, they can afford to send their children to better schools. “Before I was working very very hard, and the children were in medium schools,” says Godfrey. “But now I can afford the schools I want to and my children go to a better boarding school.”

Moreover, during the strict COVID-19 lockdowns in Uganda when children were unable to go to school, there were teaching programs on TV that the children could watch to continue learning while at home. Godfrey and Jullei also feel that their children are safer now, as they sit and watch TV after dinner instead of going out and wandering off.

The solar home system comes with a TV, allowing Godfrey and Jullei’s children to learn and be entertained.

Godfrey and Jullei have been so happy with BrightLife’s products and service that they are now enthusiastically recommending it to extended family and other members of the community.