About Fifty Lanterns

Fifty Lanterns International is a nonsectarian, nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Fifty Lanterns was founded to help improve lives in communities torn by poverty, war, or disaster through gifts of solar-powered lanterns and energy systems.

Our name, Fifty Lanterns, was inspired by the 50 women who were the first recipients of solar lights through Fifty Lanterns International. These deserving women were widows who live in unimaginable poverty high in the hills in the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan with no access to electricity and few opportunities to earn a living. Any light they had came from highly flammable and expensive kerosene. The solar lanterns they received made a dramatic difference in their lives: 50 lights dispelled much darkness.

Fifty Lanterns is a small, volunteer-led organization. We partner with existing organizations to complete our work. In the past, we've worked with CARE International, Save the Children, HOPE Worldwide, and Habitat for Humanity. These groups operate with limited funds. By cooperating with them to provide solar energy, we significantly impact both the success of their work, and the future prospects for the communities we serve.

Fifty Lanterns continues to give the gift of solar energy.

Our most recent project in September of 2012 is in Ethiopia where we installed solar lighting in two very rural schools.  The school rooms will now be able to be used after dark for adult education, income-generation, and as a village gathering place for the community.  The first school is in Ekodaga, about one hour North of Addis Ababa. The school will be able to serve upwards of 80 adult students. The second school is Cololo Belala, which is about halfway between Addis Ababa and the Somalia border. Our partnering organizations in Ethiopia is Tesfa/Ethiopia Reads.

We have provided relief supplies, winterized tents and nearly 250 solar lanterns to earthquake survivors high in the mountains of northern Pakistan and Kashmir. In partnership with the SPREAD agricultural project in Rwanda, we work with primarily widows and child-headed households that farm small coffee plantations. We have also teamed up with Bull Run Roasting Company in Minneapolis to offer this excellent coffee with proceeds returning to our solar lantern program. In partnership with the SPREAD agricultural project we distribute to widows and child-headed households who are farming small coffee plantations, most of our farmers have on average 300 coffee trees.

To date, we have worked in 9 countries on 3 continents.

Board of Directors:
Linda Cullen, Executive Director
Peggy Carlson
Patty Griffin
Pam Lindquist
Jennifer F. Martin, Ph.D
Bonnie Sommerville


Support Staff:
Patrick North, Creative Director
Julie Fliflet, Accountant
Marilyn Crawford, Administrative Assistant

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