Project | Sun in a Bottle

LOCATION: Johannesburg South, Gauteng, South Africa | PROJECT LAUNCHED: June 2015



  • Engineers without Borders (EWB) at the University of Johannesburg
  • UJ Metropolitan Academy (UJMA)


    A project, developed by the IEEE South Africa Section in 2015, helped solve a major environmental problem in the informal settlement of Kathrada Park. This settlement is home to some of Claremont, Johannesburg’s poorest residents. Without access to electricity, many of these residents struggle to carry out even the most basic tasks. Children, especially, are at a tremendous disadvantage because they are unable to study and complete their homework unless they use candlelight, which poses a serious fire hazard.

    Recognizing the need to improve the community’s living conditions and overall quality of life, eight members of the student chapter of Engineers without Borders (EWB) at the University of Johannesburg, in collaboration with 11 high school learners and a science teacher from the UJ Metropolitan Academy (UJMA), developed an engineering solution known as “Light (Sun in a Bottle).”

    The Litre of Light initiative, which aims to provide an ecologically sustainable and free-of-cost source of interior light to rooms in simple dwellings with tin roofs, was developed by Alfredo Moser of Brazil in 2002. The approach was first launched in the Philippines by Illac Diaz under the My Shelter Foundation in April 2011. The Litre of Light initiative seemed like a perfect solution for the lighting problem identified at Kathrada Park. Given the challenges of connecting the community to electrical power, a lighting system to significantly reduce the number of household fires by introducing an alternative to candles or paraffin-based options would be especially useful.



    Engineers without Borders (EWB) at the University of Johannesburg