Imagine facing this pandemic in the dark. Let’s spare as many as we can in rural Zambia and Malawi that fate.

In isolation, there is so much time for thinking. One of the silver linings to the COVID-19 clouds is that many people seem to be translating their thinking time into empathy for others, and are acting on that empathy.

They are spoilt for choice. The suffering starts close to home, as the early victims of the emerging depression join the welfare queues, and extends from there right around the world: a real-life nightmare that has ambushed us all in just a few short weeks.

As I picture the emerging miseries, Africa leaps to the front of my mind. Anybody who has been there knows how hard it will be for any kind of containment of the virus. Anyone who has sat in the dark with an African family knows just a little of the horrors that come in the  pitch blackness, and the  dangers that come when candles or kerosene are used to alleviate it. And now comes a pandemic. The deaths only began a few days ago in Zambia and Malawi.

SolarAid’s SunnyMoney teams are grounded, unable to get out into the field to sell the money- and health-saving solar lights that their countrymen so badly need. Instead, in Zambia, they are working with the Ministry of Health to deploy donated lights in health clinics. Most of these have either no light at night, or just candles. It is incredible to think, in these days of plenty, for so many of us. But it  is true. And now comes a pandemic.

I leave the rest to your imaginations. But please would you join me today in funding a box of solar lights, with your family name written invisibly on it, for a health clinic in sub-saharan Africa? I, my compadres in SolarAid, and many Africans would be most enormously grateful.

Our fundraising campaign page tells you how you can do that with a few clicks. And it has a wonderful spoken message, from Chido Chigubu, one of my Zambian colleagues.

Please stay healthy and sane, empathic and active, if not here then somewhere else in the war on the virus. We only beat this thing by working together. And when we have beaten it, lets take that lesson and apply it to other problems of humankind, while there is  still time, and before other horrors ambush us.

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