Students at BYU can “give light” to kick this semester off right. Empower Playgrounds, Inc. (EPI) is a Provo-based non-profit charged with the task of generating light for schools in Ghana. EPI is selling bracelets at the BYU Bookstore and around Provo to fund its efforts in Africa.
Chris Owen, Executive Director of EPI, spent this past summer living and working in Ghana helping to install the playground equipment that generates electricity for village schools.
“The ‘One Bracelet, One Year of Light’ program we are doing is to raise funds for our 2011 program goals,” Owen said. “Each bracelet is $10 and provides a year of light for a child in Ghana. There are also pearl and semi-precious stone necklaces for $30-$40 which can see a child through junior high.”
After serving an 18-month mission in Ghana for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, EPI founder Ben Markham thought of an innovative method for bringing light to Ghana. Together with BYU and BYU-Idaho students, Markham engineered playground equipment that generates electricity.
“I seldom saw the kids playing with anything,” explained Markham in a BYUtv documentary on the EPI project. “The amount of power available would easily charge cell phones or laptop computers, which will probably be a use we’ll look to in the future.”
Bracelets will be available for purchase in the BYU Bookstore Women’s Department. The $10 cost for one of the bracelets will support giving a child light for a year in Ghana.
Owens explained how a bracelet equates to giving light for a year.
“Our equipment and program breaks down to $10 per child per year of light,” Owen said. “Each bracelet allows us to give the gift of light to one more student in Ghana.”
EPI has partnered with the BYU Bookstore, the Provo Farmers Market and the BYU Stadium Farmers Market every Thursday to offer the bracelets to local buyers.