The men stand on the rusty roof of sheet metal hut in the slums of Manila.
In their hands a hammer and chisel – making a whole into the roof.
The owners look a little skeptical – will it work? Long have they been waiting for this moment… for the hole in the ceiling … and the glowing bottle, which moves slowly through the opening.
Noemi Velasco, resident
“We pay every month 2400 pesos for the electricity. This is too much for us. Lamps, we can hardly afford. And so it was quite dark in our hut. ”
The idea is so simple and yet ingenious. A plastic bottle filled with water and a little chlorine bleach. Once the sun shines on it, it breaks the rays into thousands of small light beams and the bottle starts to shine. In the dark huts of Manila, it is getting bright. With light that needs nothing but the sun. For free – easy to install.
Long have the people in the slums been waiting for such an invention. People living here, they live from the street, small jobs, collecting garbage, cleaners. A lot of them don’t have electricity at all for the other the cost are almost killing them.
These are the people Illac Diac wants to help with his Solar Bottle bulb project. American students at Harvard University discovered the formula. Which kind of revolutionary power this discovery could have for the poor in the slums, Diac realized it.
Illac Diaz, founder of “A liter of Light”:
It took me more than a week to get an appointment with the major of the city. And then when I showed her an empty plastic bottle and not some solar panels or hi-tech, she thought I must be crazy. The bottle did even glow or shine!”
Up to today Diaz could mobilized thousands of people for his non-profit project. Even the Philippine Army is listening to the instructions of a young man, who used to be a photo model, a face for the advertising industry and actor. People know him, he is famous in the Philipines.
And so its easy for him to reinvent himself as a visionary moving others. The generals, super wealthy businessmen, even a beauty queen he has already won for the project. They all have done advertising in the past months, helping him to produce the light bottles. Now they want to bring these lights to the people with his program “A Liter of Light”
Illac Diaz: “5 month ago it was a man, an idea, a plastic bottle with a little sheet metal around it. Now we have already 10,000 bottles. the idea spreads quickly. We want to be fast to help all these people and change their lives.
The green revolution even made to the prison of Makati. in the courtyard of the jail – this is were inmates produce the light bottles. Inmates, who have been gang members, robbers, thieves, criminals – now they have something to do. It helps them to kill the time and it also gives them the opportunity to save a little money for the time after. They get 8 Pesos for each bottle and they make about 15 bottles a day.
Diaz has a dream – by the end of the year 1 million bottles should be distributed and installed. Not only in the Philippines. The light from bottles soon shall enlight huts in Indonesia, Columbia, India, South Africa.
Diaz: ” I believe our idea will help to improve the standard of living drastically for these people. Sometimes tiny ideas can make biggest changes. Not only in the Philippines, maybe soon all over the world.”
Noemi Velasco, the young mother will consume two-thirds less electricity in the future. And have more money left over for the children for school, for everyday eating.
Noemi Velasco “Until today it was pretty dark in our home, even during the day. Now its light and bright. Maybe we should install a few more bottles in here…”
The liter of light will light up the slums of Manila for two years and make their lives a little brighter. But only until the sun goes down. Later when its time to sleep – how handy – the dream, the bottle light goes dark.
The idea is spreading quickly – all over the world people are interested in this amazingly simple hi-tech invention. Visit the website of the project to read more about the project.
Want to build your own “Liter of light”? Watch the video