Solar Suitcases: Light to Save Lives

Posted on March 6, 2012


In conjunction with International Women’s Day each year, Women Deliver celebrates the progress made on behalf of women worldwide.  This year the ‘Women Deliver 50’ list will promote 50 organizations with the most inspiring ideas and solutions that deliver for girls and women.  Among 25 nominated projects in the Health Interventions category is WE CARE Solar.  WE CARE Solar designs and delivers economical and portable solar suitcases for maternal health facilities in regions without reliable electricity.  The WE CARE Solar Suitcase provides health workers with medical lighting and power for mobile communication, computers and medical devices such as fetal monitoring and blood bank refrigeration.

Solar Suitcase (Courtesy of

Everyday, approximately 1000 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth- related complications worldwide, mostly in developing countries.  In 2007, 358 000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth.[1]

WE CARE Solar was founded by obstetrician Dr. Laura Stachel in 2008 after working in Northern Nigeria where she “witnessed deplorable conditions in state facilities including sporadic electricity that impaired maternity and surgical care”.  Together with her husband, Hal Aronson, a solar educator in California, they designed a suitcase-sized electric system for the Nigerian hospital Laura was working at.  WE CARE Solar now provide Suitcases to clinics in 17 countries in Africa, Haiti and other regions facilitating timely and appropriate emergency care, reducing maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.  Check out the WE CARE Solar blog which has some pretty inspiring stories from the field.

Winners of the ‘Women Deliver 50’ list will be announced on 7 March 2012.  Good luck WE CARE Solar!



1. WHO. Maternal Mortality (Fact Sheet No 348).  2010 [6 March 2012]; Available here.