Crafting lamps signifies ability to make environment brilliant - GulfToday

Crafting lamps signifies ability to make environment brilliant

Jennifer coaches her son Arthur Gibson as Iliac Diaz looks on. Kamal Kassim / Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Crafting solar-powered lamps is both easy and fun.

Check out the Liter of Light booth at the park on the left side of the Al Wasl Plaza at Expo City Dubai every evening until February 4 (Sunday) for the probable highs, the wide smiles and the joie de vivre when the LED on the upper half of an admiral blue plastic bottle lights up, to resounding claps and cheers.

That happened on Tuesday evening, a slow start from 6 p.m., until Abdul Rahman Hasan went to the table. His elder brother, Qusai, followed suit, enquired from Iliac Diaz what the illuminating bottles that spell “Better World” was all about. Then, the one-on-one session with Ami, Diaz’s better half.

Regular visitors from Oman are Ali Salem Al Rawahi. The future engineer/pilot jumped with glee when his solar-powered lamp lit.

Mona Naderi with her mom, brother and their friend tarried, left, and surprisingly returned.

By 7:30 p.m., there was already an inquisitive crowd of families.

Fifteen years in the UAE and currently a professor at the RIT University in Dubai, Qusai said his 11-year-old brother and their parents are visiting from Amman, Jordan: “Abdul Rahman is into assembling anything he lays his hands on. Even the littlest of things. He saw the bottles of light. Got interested in lamp-making.

“The lamp becomes more interesting because we would be able to help light a village in the Philippines. Making the cash pledge of any amount is no problem,” Qusai also said.

Excited and happy that she, her mom and their friend, returned, was Mona Naderi, 12, born-and-raised in the UAE and whose family is from Iran. She wants to be a Science teacher some day and when that happens, that Tuesday evening experience would be among the anecdotes to share with her pupils.

Also UAE-born is Sharjah resident Nayan Sai, 14. He termed the project as “so easy” for his elective is Physics, trained to both tinkering and thinking about the physical sciences: “The lady (Ami Diaz) taught me order like ‘you have to put all of those wires and other components back to the hollow tube when you are done.’ I like that, everything in order.”

Alabatoul Kamal, 11, would encourage her friends back in Kuwait to come over to Dubai so they would also know how to make a lamp that would “give light to those who live in the dark.” She was the most meticulous that it took her about half-an-hour to light her bottle. When it did, everyone was caught by surprise for Mahdi, 6, her brother, boomingly blurted: “I also want to make my own lamp!”

The Kamals learnt about the Dhai Dubai Light Festival. The “Better World” mesmerised them. Alabatoul decided to sit in because she wants “to try something new always. They said I could build a lamp on my own, and help people without electricity have light. I believe everything needs patience and I learnt that once again over here. I would really remember this. I now know how to make a lamp. Who knows I would need it.”

Arthur Gibson was with her mother Jennifer. It was Iliac who taught him. He would entice his classmates to drop by the Liter of Light.

In collaboration with the Dhai Dubai, all the solar-powered lamps, so far over 200 – completed during the duration of the 10-day festival, along with cash pledges – shall go direct to the indigenous Manobo tribe residing in floating villages on the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, in the northeastern landlocked province of Agusan del Sur in Mindanao, Southern Philippines.

The Diazes, who met as students at the Harvard Kennedy School “that invites students to ask what they can do to be of service,” in 2012, have been conducting Liter of Light grassroots lighting project workshops all over the world. It is an ideation by Iliac, the social entrepreneur/MyShelter Foundation founder, after Super Typhoon Haiyan flattened huge areas of Leyte Province in Central Philippines in 2013.

Ami said: “This orientation towards service was what drew both of us together as partners in social enterprise and in life. It is grounded on our desire to help, on my background in public health advocacy and Iliac, from his work in alternative construction and social enterprise. There are ups and downs in our mission work. The chance to do this kind of work is however, a gift.”