Free from Night

Around the world, for children living in extreme poverty, the day ends when the sun sets. And with it, a chance for an education.

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kenyan child

A Way Out

In the Kibera section of Nairobi, Kenya, life itself is an ordeal. Every daylight hour is spent fighting for survival: collecting firewood, drinkable water, and food. Education could provide a way out, but with no access to electricity, studying after sundown is an impossibility.

Ruston Seaman

Ruston Seaman

President & CEO,
New Vision Renewable Energy

Lighting the Way

Ruston Seaman had a plan to permanently improve the lives of people living off the grid. He used his renewable energy expertise to design a lamp that would be solar powered, easily assembled, and cheaply made.

There was only one problem: it wasn’t bright enough.

Light Bulb Moment

The idea struck Ruston like a bolt: 3M, an industry leader in optics and films, works with companies to develop solutions. Why not approach 3M's innovators and see what they could do?

Daniel Chen

Daniel Chen

Business Development Manager, 3M Renewable Energy Division

A Helping Hand

Dan and his team helped solve Ruston’s engineering problem by identifying a 3M reflective film that would improve the lamp’s performance. Then he went a step further.

Dan connected Ruston with 3Mgives (3M’s global giving and engagement organization) and secured a donation of enough Solar Mirror Film for 44,000 lamps. Ruston now had the power to help 44,000 families living in darkness.

Core 3M Technologies


Anatomy of Hope

Ruston Seaman had a life-changing design for a self-sustaining lamp. But before 3M was involved, there was one missing piece.

“We hope to partner with 3M for years to come as we all find ways to help the most vulnerable people on the planet experience the benefits of 21st century technology and innovation.”

- Ruston Seaman

President & CEO, New Vision Renewable Energy

A Bright Future

The solar powered lamps create a lasting, sustainable change in people’s lives. Families are freed from the hazards and costs of using kerosene fuel, parents feel safer at night, and children can finally pursue their studies. It’s light that will last for lifetimes.

“3Mgives is the cornerstone of our giving. To date, $1.3 billion in cash and products, countless volunteer hours, and international contributions have established an enduring connection between 3M and the community for years to come.”

- Kim Price

Vice President, 3Mgives