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    Thursday
    May102012

    PYAPON: Ind.structable d.light

    We took some of our new solar lights down to Pyapon in the Ayerwaddy Delta to throw out of coconut trees, submerge in water buckets and run over with a motorbike. We did this to prove how tough they are. And because it was fun.

    Here's the video of our little experiment, complete with genuine reactions of villagers seeing these lights for the first time.

    Wednesday
    May092012

    1000 Words: The Tractor of the East

    The mighty buffalo has been the Southeast Asian farmer's best friend for over 5000 years. An indispensible member of any rural farming family, they're often called "my son", or "my daughter" by their farmers in Myanmar.

     

    Friday
    May042012

    PYAPON: Let There Be d.light

     

    Look at an aerial photo of Southeast Asia at night and you won’t see much of Myanmar. Lights are centered in only the major cities and it is estimated that 95% of the rural population live completely off the grid. This means that when the sun sets, sometimes as early as 5.30pm, roughly 29 million people, mostly in rural areas, are plummeted in to darkness, forced to rely on candlelight for activities like schoolwork, sewing, cooking, and sorting produce for sale at the market.

    Candles cost money. And money is something rural families don’t have a lot of. Fortunately though, Myanmar has sunshine in spades. And sunshine is free.

    A few weeks ago Proximity received our first shipment of solar lighting from Hong Kong based company d.light.  Affordable, durable, and practically indestructible*, they will provide a brighter, safer alternative to candlelight for a one-time investment and within just 6 months they could pay for themselves with the savings made on candlewax. But they aren’t just money saving; bright solar lighting extends the workday, creating more time for money making. d.light customers worldwide have reported monthly income increases of up to 50%. Sales started in 82 villages and the response so far has been super positive.

    The images above show our first sales demonstration, and the first two customers proudly showing off their new lights.

    *Next week we'll share our video that shows just how indestructable they are!

    Wednesday
    May022012

    1000 Words: Prince for a Day

     


    A young boy in Shan State dressed for his Shin Pyu, the ceremony in which young boys initiate in to the monastery for the first time. A source of great merit, farming families will traditionally initiate their sons in the Dry season, when they have received the greatest amount of financial gain from their crops.

    Wednesday
    Apr252012

    THE UNIVERSE: Gravity Vs. Drudgery

     

     

    Drip irrigation is a game changer. When our farmers see it for the first time they are incredulous, and with fair reason. With drip installed on a plot about 4 acres in size, daily labour can be reduced from 6-9 hours of lugging water in sprinkler cans, to 30 minutes of treadling a pump, and 15 seconds spent turning on a tap. Crops are healthier, yields are bigger, less water is wasted, and farmers are happier. 

    A product so good, surely it should have been thought up sooner?

    Well, the truth is, it had been. The benefits of drip irrigation have been well documented and enjoyed for over 100 years in the Middle East, America and Europe.

    So, why didn't it reach Myanmar earlier?

    Well, drip is normally powered by a mechanised pump, something few rural families in Myanmar have the capital to buy. To make this life-changing technology accessible to our extremely price sensitive market we began looking for a cheaper alternative. And then it hit us...just like that apple fell out of the tree and hit Newton.

    Check out the video.