A bright yellow suitcase is saving moms and babies around the world.
True
The CW

It's common to do certain things in the dark: get your snooze on, watch a movie, maybe even deliver a baby.

Deliver a ... baby? In the dark? It happens.

It's a scenario that's almost hard to fathom, considering many of us can barely find a light switch in the dark without stubbing a toe on every piece of furniture. But as U.S.-based OB/GYN Dr. Laura Stachel discovered on a research trip in 2008, babies around the world too often are being delivered in near darkness — until she found a unique way to fix it.


Check out her story in this video and then scroll down to read the whole story!

In many countries, delivering a baby in darkness isn't what the doctor ordered — but it's what the doctor got.

Take rural Nigeria, for example, where the electricity can be extremely unreliable.

When Laura went there on her research trip, she was shocked at what she saw: nurses delivering babies at night, using lanterns and flashlights to see. Surgeons working in near darkness, and patients needing life-saving procedures but getting turned away because of the dark conditions.

As you can imagine, the results were often tragic.

A midwife in Tanzania holds a cellphone in her mouth to enable her to see and care for a woman. All photos from We Care Solar/Facebook, used with permission.

On a list of reasons why maternal mortality is still so high in 2016, "light" isn't usually one that would come to mind. But 300,000 women are dying during or right after pregnancy or childbirth every year, and access to light is a contributing factor.

Because as you know, babies don't wait until conditions are ideal to make their world appearances. Countries with unreliable electricity can only adapt as best as they can.

When Laura realized that access to light was such an issue, it gave her an idea that's paying off for a whole generation.

She and her husband, Hal Aronson, a solar energy educator in Berkley, California, developed an off-grid solar electric system and gave it to the Nigerian hospital. It provided reliable lighting, easier communication, and allowed for a blood bank refrigerator through its power source.

And guess what? Maternal mortality there decreased significantly. That's not a coincidence.

Back then, Hal Aronson and Laura Stachel were just getting started.

Knowing that portability and ease of use was going to be key for their success, they created a compact version of their solar electric system and dubbed it the "solar suitcase."

It's a suitcase, people! That provides light. And a power source. And saves the lives of moms and babies.

Solar suitcases in Tanzania are now replacing candlelight and oil wick lanterns.

What more could you want? Besides more of them ... everywhere. (Don't worry, they're working on that!)

More than 1,500 solar suitcases have served moms, babies, and health care workers in more than 27 countries since 2009. In the next five years, they hope to light up 20,000 health clinics.

What a difference some light makes. Photo taken after the Nepal earthquake, using a solar suitcase.

It's a seemingly simple solution with a huge impact. The suitcases currently cost around $1,645 each and have been funded by individuals, UN agencies, and foundations; although donations are obviously welcomed. The suitcases are provided at no cost to the clinics in need.

Some of our world's biggest problems can feel too complex and difficult to fix. Laura and the We Care Solar team are showing why that's not always the case.

Her simple fix is impacting maternal mortality rates around the world in the best way possible, and there is much more good to come.

She's a hero, shining bright.

When we hear about racial bias in education, we might picture things like disparities in school funding, disciplinary measures, or educational outcomes. But it can also show up in the seemingly simplest of school assignments—ones that some of us wouldn't even notice if we don't look outside our own cultural lens.

Ericka Bullock-Jones shared one such instance on Facebook, with her daughter's responses to questions on a high school ancestry assignment.

"My kids go to a pretty much all white school," she wrote. "They got an assignment yesterday asking them to talk to their relatives and document how their families came to 'immigrate' to the US. The teacher asked for details about the 'push and pull of the decision' and really made it sound like a light hearted assignment. Female Offspring was INCENSED. She is a beast - and I mean that in the best possible way. I wish I had a scintilla if [sic] her nerve, knowledge and courage when I was her age. This is what she put together to turn in for this assignment..."

Keep Reading Show less

When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started sitting during the national anthem—and then kneeling at the suggestion of a veteran—in 2016, he pushed the conversation about racial justice and police brutality into the U.S. mainstream. Some loved him for it, some hated him for it, but there's no question that he got everyone talking about it.

However, widespread support for his message didn't come until this year. As racial justice protests exploded across the country and spread throughout the world this spring, a distinct societal shift occurred. And as sports have started making a pandemic comeback, more and more athletes have loudly raised their voices for racial justice. Where we had seen a handful of individual athletes kneel during the anthem, we now see entire teams in various professional sports making powerful statements supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. The NFL itself has come out and publicly admitted they were wrong to try to get players to stop kneeling during the anthem.

Tonight is the first NFL game of the season, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans. The teams has announced that they were going to do something special to make a unified statement on equality.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Crest

Some of the moments that make us smile the most have come from everyday superstars, like The McClure twins!

Everyone could use a little morning motivation, so Crest – the #1 Toothpaste Brand in America – is teaming up with some popular digital all-stars to share their smile-worthy, positivity-filled (virtual) pep talks for this year's back-to-school season!

As part of this campaign, Crest is donating toothpaste to Feeding America to unleash even more smiles for families who need it the most.

Let's encourage confident smiles this back-to-school season. Check out the McClure Twins back-to-school pep talk above!

Most of us had one of those neighbors growing up—the one who gave us the stink eye if we so much as looked at their perfectly mowed lawn and shooed us away if even our shadows crept onto their flower beds. There's a reason "Get off my lawn!" was a meme before memes were even a thing.

Then there are neighbors who rock. The ones who smile and wave through the window and share their fresh-baked cookies with the neighborhood kids. The folks who genuinely enjoy the vibrant energy that children bring to the block and embrace the idea of "it takes a village."

When one of the guys behind Canyon Chasers, a motorcycle enthusiast website, shared a video of how he handled a kid who kept playing in his driveway when he wasn't home, it wasn't clear at first which kind of neighbor he was going to be. But then he explains how his security footage showed a preschooler riding his bike around his flat concrete driveway every evening, and how he decided to do something about it.

Keep Reading Show less

Parents, teachers, and students have had to dig deep into their creativity and flexibility as back-to-school time hits, pandemic-style. From Zoom classes to hybrid models to plexiglass desk barriers, school simply does not—and cannot—look normal in 2020.

I've seen many parents fret over how and where their kids will do their online schooling. Do they need a desk? What about a quiet space? What if we don't have separate rooms for each kid? And those are just the worries about space.

With everyone's concern levels being sky high, it's no wonder the reactions to one dad's school-at-home setup were mixed. A Reddit user shared this video to the r/nextfuckinglevel subreddit, and while we don't know who the dad is, his classroom building skills truly are next level.

Keep Reading Show less