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OMUSHANA – SHINING A TRANSFORMATIVE LIGHT OF HOPE TO THOSE IN DARKNESS

THE ABSENCE OF POWER FORCES PEOPLE TO RELY ON UNSAFE, ENVIRONMENTALLY UNFRIENDLY AND EXPENSIVE SOURCES OF LIGHT IN UGANDA. OMUSHANA, ON EACH PURCHASE OF ITS ECO-FRIENDLY CLOTHING, PROVIDES A LANTERN TO A UGANDAN HOUSEHOLD. IT IS ALSO WORKING TOWARDS DISTRIBUTING LANTERNS TO OTHER COMMUNITIES IN NEED.

Words By Lida Ormol

The word Omushana comes from the Southwestern Ugandan language of Rukiga, meaning ‘’Sunshine’’, and that is exactly where the Omushana company was founded by Garland Smith, on Earth Day 2019, during a volunteering program. The essence of Omushana is to make the lives of those living in need convenient. It currently provides solar lantern lighting to Ugandan communities who have acute shortages of electricity. These solar lanterns emit hours of light, which allow people to better harness dark nights. Speaking about his stay in Uganda, Garland explained; “I remember when my power would go out regularly and I just couldn’t work. But I was fortunate to even have power in the first place, because the people around me didn’t at all. That’s when I thought about combating this problem with a solution.”

He further described the three key foundational pillars of Omushana; first being, to provide light; through each purchase of his eco-friendly clothing a solar lantern is provided for a household, who in particular lacks access to reliable power sources in order to read, cook and socialise, to name a few implications. To put it simply; one garment for one lantern, Garland emphasised. 

Secondly, to manufacture eco-friendly clothing under sustainable conditions by ensuring the conservation of resources in environmentally and socially responsible ways. A fully-fledged sustainable track being the last pillar, which aims to bring change under the overarching umbrella that is sustainable living.

‘’To live with, not on, our earth,’’ Said Garland

Omushana’s greatest challenges

To which he replied, “yes, it was difficult to mobilise all contacts and resources in Uganda, and obviously I had to move around to establish partnerships with local NGOs and the solar lantern company that we buy lanterns from. In the beginning, the whole process of establishment seemed like one huge hurdle that I could never get over. But with each step taken, I was able to overcome the challenges. However, In the end I realise it is all worth it and we create something valuable for people.”

Omushana’s proudest moments

At night a significant number of people in Uganda have no choice but to opt for the use of sources of light, which can be hazardous to their health. My biggest achievement is hearing their stories of how one simple lantern has transformed their lives for the better. Moments like these are nothing short of precious.

Future projects of Omushana


In the context of project collaborations, Omushana is working with Casa Congo, a nonprofit organization in Nicaragua, to broaden supply of its lanterns to Nicaraguans, as well as with Wood Habitat in Rwanda, who will be producing wooden lanterns for Omushana in the near future.

‘’The ultimate goal with Omushana and our other future projects is, to make people think differently; we can’t just compel someone to act differently without knowing the benefit.’’ Garland Smith