Fletcher in the News

Jill Van den Brule (F02) Shines a Light on Poverty with Solar-Powered Lantern

It’s always disappointing to come across phony do-gooders. And it’s easy to scoff at celebrities working in war zones. But there is hope.

I spend most of my life in areas of conflict, and I meet all kinds of people aside from the victims of war: thrill seekers, soldiers of fortune, nymphomaniacs disguised as activists. One time I even walked into someone’s bombed-out hotel room in Sarajevo, and there was Joan Baez sitting amid the rubble.

And sometimes there are ordinary people who are great people doing remarkable things, and that makes it all worthwhile.

Last week, when unpacking my bag from an assignment in Syria, I found my most valuable possession (aside from my 9-year-old son). It’s a tiny LED water-resistant solar-powered lantern that was co-designed by a former United Nations development expert turned humanitarian entrepreneur, a woman named Jill Van den Brule.

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