After 15 days, IRD has informed us that the initial lights have been working effectively. None have been stolen!
Mercy Corp delivered the school supplies today to two locations: Al Zaatari and an informal school in Mafraq. The children were excited to receive the pencils, paper, books, highlighters, glue, and bags.
Save the Children has installed 24 lights in the Children Friendly Spaces (CFSs). They will install another 30 this week. The final 40 lights will be kept in reserve, as backup should any break or get stolen.
First round of installation complete: 10 Lights have been installed in the community tent areas. They were installed by the local Syrian refugee community.
Change of plans: The school supplies have spent a week at the hotel and need to be moved. Mercy Corp picked up the school supplies today and delivered them to Zaatari’s distribution center in Amman.
Lights finally arrive at the camp. They were delayed due to shipping issues directly to the camp. Sohaib, from Save the Children signed off on the receipt of the lights.
Skyrocket Light Project welcomes Elliot Talbert-Goldstein to the organisation. Elliot is bringing his unique skill sets in organisational strategy and communication to the team.
The school supplies were given to Jehad, the manager of the Jordan Tower Hotel. He said he would keep them at the hotel, until IRC could pick them up.
After returning to Tel Aviv late Monday night, Max and Ben continued to coordinate the delivery of the lights to both the Save the Children and IRD offices and plan the installation of the lights with each organization in the agreed upon sites. At this point, the lights are slated to arrive in Zaatari on Thursday, at which point the installation process will be planned and implemented
Max and Ben met with Oxfam representatives in Amman and drove up to camp with the solid waste management team, where they learned a great deal about the urban logistics of Zaatari. During their morning meeting with Oxfam, the UNHCR, Save the Children, and IRD, it was decided that the lights could be most beneficial to 42 Child-Friendly Spaces run by Save the Children, as well as 3 community tents and a children’s library run by IRD. Afterwards, Max and Ben toured the camp with Save the Children and the IRD to view the specific installation sites, and coordinated the delivery of the lights shipment directly to their offices in Zaatari. At the same time, the school supplies were arranged to be delivered by the IRC to a battered women and children’s center in the nearby city of Mafraq.
Max and Ben returned to Amman with the school supplies, as well as permission to enter Zaatari from the UNHCR. In coordination with Oxfam, we planned to drive up to the camp on Monday morning for a joint meeting with the UNHCR, Save the Children, and IRD to determine the most effective use of the lights.
Max and Ben worked out the final details for their return to Jordan, including confirming meetings and logistics.
Arrow Express informed Max and Ben that the snow-storm has impacted the port more than anticipated, causing unexpected delays. Arrow was not able to give a firm date for the lights arrival in Amman, as everything is backed up at the port.
Other organizations at Zaatari reached out and showed an interest in the solar-powered LED lights. As the lights were already promised to OXFAM, Max and Ben are now exploring opportunities to expand the project, to either provide more lights or other small scale infrastructure developments.
‘Historic' snow-storm hit the Middle East. Syrian Refugees in every country faced and still face crushing environmental pressures. The snow and freeze also had an effect on the logistics, delaying the unpacking of the lights.
Max and Ben received official permission to enter the camp between December 19th and December 24th.
OXFAM Meeting / Leave Jordan: Max and Ben met with the Head Engineer and Programme Manager for Al Zaatari. Technical details about the lights and implementation were discussed. OXFAM agreed to use the lights in districts controlled by them, based on findings in IRC’s security audit. The Head Engineer also agreed to provide the paperwork neccessary for Max and Ben to get official permission to enter the camp. After the early am meeting, Max and Ben took the 7 hour trip back to Tel Aviv.
Two Meetings: 1) Arrow Express. Max and Ben met with the shipping agent in the north of the city. They provided a Jordanian perspective on the Syrian refugee crisis. They informed Max and Ben that the lights were still in Aqaba, but would be brought to Amman within ten (10) business days. The meeting lasted over 2 hours. 2) International Rescue Committee. Max and Ben met with a Senior Protection Coordinator, based at Al Zaatari. She provided an international perspective within the specific context of the Al Zaatari Camp. The meeting lasted 2 and a half hours, with both sides discussing ways of institutionalizing Sky Rocket Light’s assistance.
Max and Ben leave for Jordan, Leaving Israel on a Saturday provided its own logistical challenges. Public transportation does not run on Saturday, so Max and Ben took private shuttles (only $2 more expensive than the public transports): Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Jerusalem to King Hussein Bridge, Israeli border checkpoint, Bus through no man’s land and across the actual bridge, Jordanian border checkpoint, taxi to Amman. Total trip time 7 hours.
The shipping agent received confirmation that the lights arrived. The process: unpacking the contents of the actual shipping container that house the lights, processing through customs, filing taxes and appropriate shipping fees, delivering the lights from the port to a warehouse in Amman.
Max and Ben went to the Jordanian Embassy and got 6-month multiple entry visas. The Jordanian Embassy and the State Department had different prices listed. The actual cost of the Visa was nearly 75% more expensive than listed on US government websites. The multiple entry visas are critical, however, in order to ensure access for implementation and subsequent follow up.
Max arrived in the region. In order to cut down on costs, Max will be staying with college friends and making trips back and forth to Jordan.
Lights arrived at Aqaba Port. The shipping agent (Arrow Express) will be able to receive the lights, once they are offloaded by the freighter company (Reliance).
Lights shipped from Shenzhen, China by freighter to the Jordan port of Aqaba.
Max’s primary school (Epstein School) collected over 30lbs of school supplies from the local community. Epstein gave the supplies to Max, for him to personally bring with him to the region.
Lights purchased from the Chinese distributor.
Max purchased his flight to Israel. He will be in the region from December 2nd until January 11th.
We are currently in the process of purchasing the LED lights and working with our Jordanian contacts to organize the first of several trips we will be making to the camp. At the same time, we are proud to launch our Tumblr, which we will be using to keep our donors in the loop about everything going with our project
As the crowdfunding phase of our project closed, we managed to raise a total of $4500! It has been humbling to see the diverse groups of people who believe in our project. Once we have the final numbers, we will provide you with our budget and time-frame of deliverables.
Thanks to contacts on the ground, cheaper sourcing costs, and generous school supply donations, we were able to reduce our costs to $4500.
We have made contact with Chinese manufacturers who are willing to source the LED lights to us far below the retail cost, which they will be shipping directly to Amman to help us minimize our logistics costs considerably. At the same time, Max made contact with several international organizations on the ground in Zaatari, who we will be working with directly to install the lights.
George Washington University recently wrote an article about the project, which you can read here.