Founded in 1996, the Koinonia Foundation was inspired by humanitarian work conducted in Rwanda by Dale Williams and his son, Andrew Williams. During the Rwandan Genocide of the early 1990’s, the Williams family worked in a refugee camp to aid fleeing victims.
“We helped a pastor work with the vulnerable, the elderly and people with disabilities,” said Dale Williams.
The mission of the Koinonia Foundation is to “save and enrich lives by fighting disease, advancing education and implementing clean and renewable energy sources.” A Greek word originating in the bible, koinonia means any group coming together for a common purpose. At first, their goal was to improve education in Rwanda on a basic level.
“We needed to put computers in schools, (so we) set up a whole solar system to set up computers,” said Andrew Williams, current President of the Koinonia Foundation, “We would take a team (to Rwanda) to do all the panels, and we did about seven or eight schools.”
While working with schools, the Williams family started to notice the prevalence of kerosene lanterns. These kerosene lanterns were both a fire hazard and polluted heavily. Determined to improve upon the model, the Koinonia Foundation worked to develop a solar lantern. Dubbed the K-Light, the lantern is quickly becoming successful in both the developing and developed world.