Local mom, entrepreneur helps deliver solar technology to disaster zones around the world

Mike Marza Image
Friday, July 7, 2023
Mother using technology to help people in Ukraine
A local mom is bringing light into the darkness - and it was all inspired by her son being diagnosed with asthma. Mike Marza has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A local mom is bringing light into the darkness and it was all inspired by her son being diagnosed with asthma.

Alice Min Soo Chun dedicated her time to cutting down on air pollution and using solar power -- and now she is using her technology to help people in Ukraine amid the ongoing war.

Making origami as a little kid with her mom was an outlet from the bullying she faced growing up outside Syracuse.

"I was really teased and beat up for being Korean, I was the only Asian in my school," she said.

The educator-turned-entrepreneur just launched a foldable, inflatable lantern that also charges your phone called the Mega Puff.

"And you have a really big solar panel right here in order to capture enough energy from the sun so that charge you can charge your phone in a day versus other solar chargers that would take two weeks to charge that battery," Chun explained.

She has donated thousands of the smaller lanterns to disaster victims. Most recently she traveled to Ukraine to donate lanterns to kids in the electricity-starved war-torn country.

It was part of an effort championed by Disney CEO Bob Iger.

"I read his book and I loved his book and he ended up reaching out to me," Chun said.

She started her company Solight in 2015 while teaching at Columbia University.

"And the Haiti earthquake happened," she said. "I said let's do something about this, I asked my dean if I could switch my studio around to be an innovation studio to help Haiti and he said yes."

Since she launched eight years ago, her company has grown to five employees. She has sold around 1 million products so far.

She even caught the attention of former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea's new show profiling women.

The products are available at solight-design.com and a portion of the proceeds go to charity.

"Small things matter, but if we all work collectively we can change the world," Chun said.

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