But ever since solar lights were installed in the family home of seven-year-old Norman Woito from Buna village, he now looks forward to studying with his mother after school.
Parents Wilfred and Liferty Woito said it used to be difficult to encourage the Buna elementary student to do his school work in the dark.
“He mostly complained about doing his homework because he could not see clearly with the torch lights, which only worked for a short time,” said Liferty.
“Because we used battery-operated torches, we would only let him spend less than an hour on his school work to save batteries for tomorrow’s use. But now Norman is able to spend more time reading books under the lights, so we don’t stop him.”
The family were issued three solar lights in August through the Australian-supported Kokoda Initiative and Kokoda Track Foundation, with a total of 218 solar kits installed in the village.
Located on the northern beaches of Northern Province, Buna is the last of 37 communities in the Kokoda Track region to receive more than 850 solar lighting kits for homes, schools and health posts over the last 12 months.
The solar-powered lights have also cut costs for the family, according to Liferty. She no longer has to purchase batteries with the little money earned from selling handicrafts and food at the local market.
“After receiving these solar lights, I have a little extra money. I used to worry about saving 12 Kina to buy six batteries every week. Now we can do plenty of things at night using the lights and not worry about the cost or limiting Norman’s study time.”
(Norman Woito with his mum Liferty under one of three solar lights received by his family through the Australian-supported Kokoda Initiative and the Kokoda Track Foundation)