Laura Stachel

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Dr. Laura Stachel is the co-founder of the non-profit organization “WE CARE Solar.” She and her husband, Hal Aronson, launched the organization to provide sustainable lighting systems to hospitals and clinics in developing countries where mortality rates due to childbirth are high. The “Solar Suitcase” units they have distributed to 27 countries have saved thousands of patients so far, even beyond mothers and their babies. The solar lighting system now enables clinics which lack electricity to continue their business during the night, which was previously an inconceivable feat.

Achievements

Why Laura Stachel is Extraordinary

Dr. Laura Stachel was an OB-GYN in the San Francisco Bay Area for over seven years before a back injury forced her to give up the profession. But rather than cease to be a medical practitioner, she endeavored to join the public health industry. She went to Nigeria as a researcher, and came home a philanthropist; witnessing childbirth with no light but her very own flashlight changed Dr. Laura’s life.

Lighting Clinics with the “Solar Suitcase”

Laura’s husband, Hal Aronson, helped her develop technology to address the lack of electricity in hospitals and clinics. Through their non-profit organization, “WE CARE Solar,” the couple has been able to make “Solar Light” available in 27 different countries. And, with the help of their partners, they hope to reach even the most remote areas where people still live in darkness.

The following are the Solar Suitcase’s key features:

• “Whole System Integration – The lighting appliances and power production components are delivered as one unit, designed for daily use.
• Safety – The sealed batteries can safely be stored inside health facilities; the low-voltage DC system avoids shock hazard and includes overcurrent protection.
• Low Maintenance – There are no fuses to replace, and no regular battery maintenance is required. Battery replacement is estimated to occur every 2 years.
• Durability – Our high quality components are designed for longevity, even in harsh environments.
• Simplicity – One switch turns on the system; another turns on lights and charges devices. The system is plug-and-play and can be installed without need for an experienced solar technician.
• Expandability – The 15 amp modular system is designed for expansion and can accommodate up to 200 watts of solar panels and a 140 amp-hour sealed battery.” (SOURCE: We Care Solar)

Laura has been named a Pop!Tech Fellow, Global Social Benefit Incubator Fellow, the “Our Bodies, Ourselves Women's Health Hero” and one of CNN’s “Top 10 2013 Heroes.” Her work has earned her the “Jefferson Award for Public Service,” the UC Berkeley Chancellor's “Award for Civic Engagement,” the “Global Social Venture Competition Social Impact Award,” the “MIT/DOE C3E Award for Energy, Education and Empowerment in the Developing World,” the “Oberlin Distinguished Alumni Award” and the “UN Association of the East Bay Global Citizens Award.”

We all can learn from Laura's story. Here's what she has to say:

“Be willing to be a consummate learner. Although I knew NOTHING about solar electricity when I started my organization, I was willing to learn. And now, when I travel the world teaching midwives and doctors about solar electricity for their health center, I can say, “If I could learn this…so can you!” (SOURCE: Maria Shriver)

Top Reasons why Laura Stachel is Extraordinary

  1. She co-founded “WE CARE Solar” with her husband.
  2. Since 2009, their “Solar Suitcases” have helped thousands of patients in 27 countries.
  3. She was named a Pop!Tech Fellow, a Global Social Benefit Incubator Fellow, the “Our Bodies, Ourselves Women's Health Hero” and one of CNN’s “Top 10 2013 Heroes.”
  4. She was one of three winners of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s “Half the Sky” contest.
  5. She is a recipient of the “Jefferson Award for Public Service,” the UC Berkeley Chancellor's “Award for Civic Engagement,” the “Global Social Venture Competition Social Impact Award,” the “MIT/DOE C3E Award for Energy, Education and Empowerment in the Developing World,” the “Oberlin Distinguished Alumni Award” and the “UN Association of the East Bay, Global Citizens Award.”
  6. She served as Associate Director of West African Emergency Obstetric Research for the Bixby Center.
  7. She has lectured at the UCB School of Public Health.
  8. She won a $25,000 grant from Isha Koach (Women of Strength).
  9. She is now an esteemed speaker and an inspiration for philanthropists worldwide.

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