The Solar Suitcases designed by Dr. Stachel and Hal Aronson contain a solar electrical system that fits inside a yellow carry-on suitcase. The system contains solar panels, a charge controller, a battery, four LED medical lights, two headlamps and phone charging equipment. They also include a fetal Doppler which is an instrument used to measure the fetal heartbeat.
In the News
Frontline health clinics are first responders in the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 as they were in the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Liberia and Sierra Leone and as they are every year in fighting malaria, HIV, cholera and so much more. Even without an immediate emergency, frontline clinics play a vital role in screening patients, administering vaccines and helping women deliver babies.
– October 7, 2020
In Africa, many facilities lack reliable electricity and often rely on kerosene lanterns and diesel-fueled generators in order to provide life-saving care, according to Dr. Laura Stachel, an obstetrician-gynecologist and executive director of We Care Solar. These produce carbon dioxide and black carbon, both of which can negatively impact health as well as the environment.
– September 29, 2020
Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation presents the ‘Future of Global Healthcare’ in association with The Conduit Episode 3: Dr. Laura Stachel
– September 20, 2020
We Care Solar designs and delivers pre-wired compact Solar Suitcases for maternal health care facilities in the developing world. This all-in-one solar+storage solution for childbirth evolved from a doctoral student’s research project, and is being scaled worldwide to ensure that no woman gives birth in the dark.
– September 8, 2020
Aster was determined to turn the centre around. Her efforts included boosting hygiene and sanitation, and promoting the use of the service to local women. The provision of a Solar Suitcase marked another great addition to the centre.
– June 16, 2020
Universal healthcare and universal access to electricity are both global development goals. While hospitals in developed countries struggle to allocate medical resources to a population strained by COVID-19, health facilities in developing economies cope every day with infrastructure and energy access challenges.
Co-authored by We Care Solar’s Dr. Laura Stachel – March 20, 2020
The installation of solar systems in 122 health centres has created relief to the midwives and the expectant mothers from delivering in darkness.
Staff and patients celebrated at Beatrice Government Hospital this week after a U.S. charity known as We Care Solar installed solar power in the medical center’s labor and maternity wards. -February 14, 2020
4 Interviews –January 12, 2020
The prize recognizes social initiatives that positively impact millions of people around the world. -January 12, 2020
The We Care Solar Suitcase® was selected in the Social Good category for delivering life-saving portable power to mothers and babies in last-mile health clinics. – November 22, 2019
Dr. Laura Stachel’s work “revolutionizes safety in childbirth” across the globe. – September 19, 2019
Experts cite dire conditions at maternity wards amid load shedding. Can solar power technology help? – November 5, 2019
Cabinet approved the Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Zimbabwe and We Care Solar on the Expansion of the Solar Suitcase Programme in Zimbabwe as proposed by the Minister of Health and Child Care. – October 16, 2019
A look at the innovations in the We Care Solar Solar Suitcase 3.0, designed in partnership with Arrow Electronics.— April 12, 2019
The We Care Solar Solar Suitcase and two other technologies are featured.— April 10, 2019
Arrow Electronics and We Care Solar have won the 2019 Edison Award for Social Innovation for development of Solar Suitcase 3.0..— April 9, 2019
The We Care Solar Solar Suitcase 3.0 by We Care Solar and Arrow Electronics was voted a Gold Award winner by the Edison Awards, which are given each year to innovations in a variety of categories.— April 8, 2019
Arrow worked with We Care Solar to create a lower cost, more powerful design of the We Care Solar Suitcase.— April 8, 2019
We Care Solar, the US-based provider of efficient solar energy systems to health facilities in off-grid regions, has won the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize in Health for its compact dependable Solar Suitcase for maternal health. —Jan. 15, 2019
When Pain Derailed This Doctor’s Career, She Started a $5 Million Nonprofit That Saves Pregnant Women’s Lives Around the World
This biographical profile of Dr. Laura Stachel includes a touching video. — Oct. 23, 2018
The New York Times included We Care Solar in its coverage of 10 organizations that are working to confront the challenges of climate change. The We Care Solar Suitcase provides electricity for safe maternal and newborn medical care and also replaces carbon dioxide-producing diesel generators and kerosene lamps. —Sept. 21, 2018
Sustainable Energy for Safe Childbirth | Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Nepal
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change/Momentum for Change featured an article and a video about We Care Solar’s life-saving work in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Nepal.
Dr. Laura Stachel discusses We Care Solar’s work in the context of Corporate Social Responsibility. -November 3, 2017
BBC News Innovators Series travels to Nepal to see how We Care Solar Suitcases are helping to reduce maternal mortality in challenging conditions after the 2015 earthquake. – October 31, 2017
The US Green Chamber of Commerce names We Care Solar’s Dr. Laura Stachel as one of seven groundbreaking women leaders in the solar energy field. – October 4, 2017
The Drucker Prize judges recognized We Care Solar’s impressive results, including the provision of life-saving labor and delivery procedures to nearly one million mothers and infants who would not otherwise have received them. – September 29, 2017
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and the Ricky Martin Foundation, along with Music for Relief, have donated 35 solar suitcases to Puerto Rico. – September 29, 2017
Solar power is making childbirth safer and less expensive for women. – September 26, 2017
We Care Solar Suitcases have improved conditions in clinics and maternal waiting rooms across Liberia. – July 17, 2017
An interview with We Care Solar co-founder and executive director, Dr Laura Stachel, about her work, her career path, and how We Care Solar is contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. – July 12, 2017
We Care Solar co-founder and executive director, Dr Laura Stachel, is featured as a lead discussant before the United Nations Economic and Social Council, on the topic of eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions through promoting sustainable development, expanding opportunities and addressing related challenges. – July 10, 2017
Gambia Radio and Television Services explores how We Care Solar and Power Up Gambia are providing sustainable power supplies for medical clinics in the Gambia. – July 8, 2017
ABC News Nightline profiles Christy Turlington Burns and her nonprofit Every Mother Counts’ partnership with We Care Solar to provide solar suitcases to rural health centers in Tanzania. The energy harnessed in the suitcases is used to power medical lighting, mobile communication and essential medical devices. – June 27, 2017
We Care Solar has been recognized by Bloomberg New Energy Finance as an agent of change in the field of clean energy technology and business transformation. – April 24, 2017
Zayed Future Energy Prize has selected three non-profit innovators for its 2017 Award. We Care Solar is proud to be among this esteemed group of finalists and will be at the awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on January 16th 2017 -January 6, 2017
Finalists announced for the Zayed Future Energy Prize -December 19, 2016
Hear about the life-saving work of We Care Solar from staff, board members, and health workers who use the technology first hand. – September 12, 2016
World Access to Modern Energy reports on the Solar Suitcase as part of their database of projects increasing energy access to communities in Asia, Africa and Latin America. -August 2016
BBC visits the Mphunzi Health Center in Malawi and learns how instrumental the Solar Suitcase is to health workers. -March 22, 2016.
Planet Expert highlights the work of five women fighting for a healthier environment, including We Care’s Dr. Laura Stachel. -Mar 8, 2016
This article by Piece Nahigan of Planet Expert provides an overview of the Solar Suitcase and its role in reducing maternal mortality. – January 19, 2016
Berkeley’s School of Public Health reports on We Care Solar’s winning of a $1M grant from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. – September 17, 2015
We Care Solar’s winning of a one million dollar grant from the UN is covered by the South-South News. – September 14, 2015
In an article on engineering solutions to maternal health around the world, IEEE’s magazine highlights We Care Solar’s contributions. – January 24, 2015
The We Care Solar Suitcase tops Tech Republic’s list of ten items helping women around the world. – January 21, 2015
The Blum Center at UC Berkeley reports on the importance of partnership and sustainability as We Care Solar Suitcases reach more than 1,000 health centers around the world. – January, 2015
An elementary school in Florida helps assemble solar suitcases for Uganda while learning about the environment and the lives of students elsewhere. – December 31, 2014
American youth learn about solar energy and compassion as they assemble Solar Suitcases for schools and orphanages in countries with unreliable electricity. – December 25, 2014
The French magazine Zebrea highlights We Care Solar and the suitcases it provides to health care facilities aroudn the world. – November 5, 2014
The Wall Street Journal tells the story of the Solar Suitcase and how it’s being used to save lives around the world. – August 8, 2014
UNICEF reports on the impact of solar suitcases in Uganda, through interviews of the midwives using them. – July 3, 2014
Students learn about solar while assembling cases for use in Uganda as part of a summer program at a California Boys and Girls club. – June 27, 2014
We Care Solar’s prominent role in the UN’s program to provide sustainable energy to improve the health of women and children is highlighted. – June 6, 2014
In this Huffington Post blog article, Elizabeth Gore of the UN Foundation illustrates the benefits of the Solar Suitcase and UN the programs helping to fund it. – May 12, 2014
The Daily Good highlights the problems the Solar Suitcase addresses. – May 9, 2014
In this radio piece on the SwitchPoint conference, the solar suitcase and Laura Stachel are used as an example of a new wave of innovators using technology to solve old problems. – April 24, 2014
We Care Solar’s partner Every Mother Counts presents a photo essay of pregnant Malawians, all taken at clinics where the Solar Suitcase was being installed. – April 18, 2014
In this comment piece from the science journal Nature, the argument for increased access to basic electricity sources is made, with the Solar Suitcase used as a prime example of how a small system can have a large impact. – April 16, 2014
Berkeley’s Big Ideas Contest looks back on previous winners, exploring We Care Solar’s incredible growth since winning first in 2008 and again in 2010. – April 1, 2014
The Energy Collective features Dr. Laura Stachel as one of the top 10 women in solar energy. – February 22, 2014.
We’re delighted that Forbes has highlighted Laura Stachel as one of “5 Brilliant Social Innovators You’ve Never Heard Of, Until Now.”- February 17, 2014.
The WHO explains how Africa’s abundant solar power potential can provide a boost to maternal healthcare and highlights We Care Solar. – February 3, 2014.
The student newspaper of Manila’s International School describes Dr. Laura Stachel’s touchdown in the Philippines and the many challenges healthcare providers are facing without light. – January 24, 2014.
Dr. Laura Stachel, co-founder of We Care Solar, and Robim Lim, CPM, talk about the devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the hope just a little electricity can provide. – January 15, 2014.
The International Society for Optics and Photonics featured We Care Solar in this month’s SPIE magazine. – January 2, 2014.
We Care Solar joins forces with Stiftung Solarenergie Philippines to bring light to the many health care workers left in the dark after Typhoon Yolanda. – December 30, 2013.
Ken Banks provides tips for social entrepreneurs in the developing world, and discusses the genesis of We Care Solar. – December 9, 2013.
Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, the UN Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All, describes the effects of energy poverty on women, reflecting on his own childhood experience in Sierra Leone. – November 14, 2013.
Dr. Laura Stachel, co-founder of We Care Solar, honors the many health workers who toil tirelessly through the night – and how solar power can help them ensure better outcomes for their patients. – November 11, 2013.
A Different Health Care Debate: How Electrifying Medical Clinics Saves Lives and Supports Women’s and Children’s Health
Dr. Richenda Van Leeuwen, the Executive Director of the Energy and Climate Energy Access Practitioner network, describes how access to electricity can help reduce maternal mortality. – November 6, 2013.
The Huron Rotary Club gave Sarah Grings the funds needed to bring a Solar Suitcase with her to the Congo, where she used it to light up a clinic serving 7,800 people. – September 23, 2013.
At the C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium, the potential of energy to empower women in the developing world is front and center. – September 19, 2013.
UNICEF announces the delivery of fifty Solar Suitcases to Northeast Uganda to improve rural maternal health care. – September 11, 2013.
The Rocky Mountain Institute goes into detail on the relationship between light, electricity, and poverty. – July 18th, 2013.
Home Power highlights the We Share Solar Suitcase in a article on opportunities for students to learn about solar outside of the classroom. – June 28th, 2013.
SunFunder highlights the Solar Suitcase in a post about solar solutions for fighting global poverty. – June 28th, 2013.
Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, asserts that technology and innovation will triumph over the myriad new challenges facing medicine in the developing world, but cautions that it won’t be easy. – June 18th, 2013.
Dr. Jane Aronson of Worldwide Orphans discusses her work partnering with We Care Solar to supply Solar Suitcases to orphanages in Haiti. – June 12th, 2013.
The MacArthur Foundation shares a video prepared by Sierra Leone UNFPA. – May 14th, 2013.
Laura Stachel tells the story of delivering a Solar Suitcase to a Malawi clinic while discussing the stark differences between maternal heath care in Malawi and the United States. – May 10, 2013.
Students in Sacramento learn how to build solar suitcases through a partnership between We Share Solar and Green Tech. – April 8th, 2013.
The Scientific American Plugged In blog discusses the Solar Suitcase history and many applications. – March 26th, 3013.
Lucy Shillingi, Pathfinder International’s Country Rep in Uganda, is interviewed about her work with the solar suitcase. – March 15th, 2013.
We Care Solar is teaming up with the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) in Uganda to light up 200 health centers as part of project “Saving Lives At Birth” (SLAB). March 12th, 2013.
CNN continues their coverage of We Care Solar in an article telling some of the stories of how the Solar Suitcases have been used. – March 1, 2013.
CNN’s Christie O’Reilly tells the story of Laura Stachel’s trip to Nigeria that inspired the Solar Suitcase as part of the CNN Hero coverage – Feb 28, 2013.
A second We Care Solar installation, this time at Katimbira Health Center in Nkhotakota, is covered by the Malawi News Agency. – February 3, 2013.
The Malawi News Agency covers the installation of a new solar suitcase at Chinguluwe Health Center, where expectant mothers were previously asked to bring a candle with them when coming for delivery. – January 30, 2013.
jWeekly traces the origins of both We Care Solar and of Laura Stachel and Hal Aronson, detailing their motivations for creating the first suitcase and the hundreds that have followed. – January 24, 2013.
We Care Solar marks the MLK Day of Service by partnering with the Tech Museum and 50 bay area students and their families to build solar suitcases for Sierra Leone. – January 15, 2013.
The Lake County Record Bee describes Dr. Paula Dhanda’s training by We Care Solar to be a Solar Ambassador and her upcoming trip to Nepal to install two Solar Suitcases. – October 9, 2012.
The California Report’s State of Heath blog details the recently completed Women Ambassadors training, focusing on the pediatrician Juliette Alyek, who traveled all the way from Uganda to attend. – October 3, 2012.
Ariel Schwartz of Co.Exist discusses the history of the solar suitcase and some of its latest impacts in the field. – June 6, 2012.
SmartPlanet by CBS has put together a video showing in detail the latest version of the solar suitcase while describing the latest work of We Care Solar. – July 5, 2012.
The Solar Suitcase is featured as a tool for helping women in the developing world during a Mother’s Day event at the World Renewable Energy Forum in Denver, Colorado. – May 29, 2012.
Voice of America discusses maternal mortality in Kano, Nigera – and We Care Solar’s efforts to combat it. – May 25, 2012.
Ken Banks, Founder of kiwanja.net and creater of FrontlineSMS discusses the process of innovation, using We Care Solar as an example. – May 10, 2012.
PBS News Hour’s followup article on the overwhelming response from viewers after their April 4th interview with Hal and Laura aired – April 19, 2012.
Podcast – Standford Social Innovation Review’s Sheela Sethuraman interviews Hal and Laura about their efforts to combat maternal mortality – April 18, 2012.
Tracey Taylor from Berkeleyside tells the tale of We Care Solar and the accidental entrepreneurs that founded it – April 16, 2012.
PBS News Hour’s Spencer Michaels interviewed Laura and Hal at their home and describes what We Care Solar is all about and where we’re going – April 4, 2012.
The Huffington Post discussing We Care Solar’s work in Nigeria and elsewhere – March 9, 2012.
CBC Radio article and podcast: Host Rick MacInnes-Rae interviews Laura Stachel in Sierra Leone for Dispatches – February 29, 2012.
Claudia Meléndez Salinas’s article about a California high school making solar suitcases – February 24, 2012.
Laura Stachel’s “Mobile Message” from Nigeria to National Geographic’s NewsWatch site talks about the impact of a simple solar solution on emergency obstetrics. – January 12, 2012.
Read this inspiring article by John Stroud about the Solar Suitcase educational programs created by Solar Energy International and WE CARE Solar – December 4, 2011
Home Power Magazine’s Kelly Davidson traces the efforts of WE CARE Solar to improve maternal health in this interview with co-founders Hal Aronson and Laura Stachel – December 2011
Daryl Kagan interviewed Dr. Laura Stachel about her transition from clinical practice to public health after a life-changing back injury – November 8, 2011
Chris Meehan highlights WE CARE Solar’s recent win of the Nokia Health Tech Award in San Jose – October 28, 2011
Harry McKracken reports on the winners of the 2011 Tech Awards, including WE CARE Solar – Oct 21, 2011
James Temple interviewed WE CARE Solar founders Laura Stachel and Hal Aronson in this terrific article about our organization – Oct 16, 11
Laura Stachel was interviewed for this article about the impact of the 1970’s classic women’s health book entitled “Our Bodies Ourselves” – October 4, 2011
School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley – Sept 22, 2011
Governor of the Republic of Liberia – Governor’s Mansion – March 17, 2011
WE CARE Solar was today named as a laureate of The Tech Awards 2011 in recognition of its work to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in the developing world by providing solar electricity for lighting and communications – September 15, 2011
ABC News SaveOne.net global health website by ABC news. They featured an “Innovations in Global Healthcare” panel on July 2, 2011 at the Aspen Ideas festival. Their website includes a video of Dr. Laura Stachel speaking at the panel.
Aspen Ideas Festival 2011 featured a Green Tech Innovations Panel, including WE CARE Solar. See the presentation by co-founder Laura Stachel, which begins 16:50 minutes into the video – July 2011
Senior Editor, Alexis Madrigal, interviewed Hal Aronson and Laura Stachel at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival. Here’s his article on the Solar Suitcase – July 2011
Elle magazine writes about Laura Stachel and gives WE CARE Solar a 2011 “Green Award” in their July 2011 issue.
Kiwanja founder Ken Banks wrote a commentary about unlikely innovators, featuring Laura Stachel and WE CARE Solar in this CNN blog – June 15, 2011
Blog by Frontline SMS founder Ken Banks on”The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator,”where he talks about meeting Dr. Stachel – February 24, 2011
Christina Hernandez talks with Dr. Laura Stachel about WE CARE Solar-February 17, 2011
Boston-based design group Design That Matters met with Dr. Stachel at the end of January to help with suitcase design – February 4, 2011
. Alex Goldmark of Fast Company interviews Laura Stachel in October 2010 about the WE CARE solar programs in developing countries – October 27, 2011
Carol Erickson from Ashoka talks with Dr. Laura Stachel – June 19, 2011
Voice of American featured WE CARE Solar in an article and radio show that played on NPR about our work to bring solar suitcases to Haiti and Africa.
Students at Yampah Mountain High School, Glenwood Springs, CO, volunteer to help build solar suitcases destined for Haiti – May 13, 2010
Dr. Laura Stachel, a DrPH candidate, received the Graduate Student Award for Civic Engagement from the UC Berkeley Chancellor – May 7, 2010
Kate Kelly reports on Jefferson Award Winner Dr. Laura Stachel -May 5, 2010
“Laura Stachel: Giving Light and Life” by Carlin Flora – June 2010
Donna Hemmila talks about the efforts of WE CARE Solar in Haiti and the impact of Solar Suitcases on the relief efforts – April 26, 2010
In the Villanova Univerty College of Engineering, students learn to see the value of applying their skills to benefit the greater good. In the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, this commitment can be seen in the growing collaboration between ECE faculty and students and WE CARE Solar.
Here’s a Fox News video on the participation of DC urban youth involved in our solar suitcase project under the direction of WDC Solar and ARCH Development. These suitcases are being made for Haiti.
Let There Be Light: A new generation of lighting solutions seeks to illuminate the darkest recesses of the world.
An article by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson in Architectural Lighting reviews off-grid lighting solutions for the developing world, including WE CARE Solar.
Laura Stachel chosen as a 2010 Women’s Health Hero.
This transcript and video feature a July 2010 interview about obstetric care in Nigeria and the function of the solar suitcase.
Story by Mike Cassidy of the San Jose Mercury, who interviewed Laura Stachel and other social entrepreneurs attending the 2010 Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University. Twenty innovators from around the globe came together for two weeks for an MBA “boot camp” to strategize how to bring their own projects to scale.
Darlene Hartley captures the essence of our mission in this article written for an on-line semi-conductor publication called Bright Side of the News – March 15, 2010
Rachel Dornhelm recorded the sounds of WE CARE Solar members Hal Aronson and Laura Stachel as they prepared to send suitcases to Haiti and Zimbabwe. Listen in to NPR’s The California Report – March 12, 2010.
“Sunlight Suitcases” by Sena Christian – February 25, 2010
“Imagine a Hospital without lights” by Laura Stachel shows images of BOGO lights brought to Nigeria to aid health workers – February 2010
“Couple’s ‘Solar Suitcases’ Give Haitian Hospitals Solar Energy” by Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato – January 5, 2010
“Solar Power: From Berkeley to Haiti and Beyond” by Berkeley Daily Planet reporter, Raymond Barglow – January 28, 2010
“A smart way you can help Haiti,” by Annie White is a blog by one of our earliest supporters from Canada – January 26, 2010
Interview by Peggy Wegemeyer, “WE CARE Solar” – January 9, 2010
“Elk Grove students power up medical solar suitcases to help save lives” -November 10, 2009
School of Public Health at Berkeley presents this article on “Portable Solar Power for Health Facilities” – Fall 2009 issue
“Delivering Health” by Gail Bensinger – Fall 2009 issue
– October 2, 2009 Click here to read the winning essay… by WE CARE Solar’s co-founder, Laura Stachel
Clark Boyd features a podcast on WE CARE Solar – August 7, 2009
“Renewable Energy in Rural Health Clinics” – July 23, 2009
“A Very Bright Idea” by Kendall Hunter (July 22, 2009)
features radio interview by Virginia Prescott – July 6, 2009
Childbirth via “solar suitcase” – June 4, 2009
How a “solar suitcase is saving women’s lives” – June 2, 2009
This opinion piece by Nicholas Kristof, entitled “Childbirth by Flashlight,” prompted many health facilities and donors to take notice of our solar initiatives – April 18, 2009