Stunned by the poor conditions in which Nigerian doctors were working, Laura Stachel created We Care Solar to offer hospitals “Solar Suitcases” that fuel reliable lights. Stachel earned her medical degree from University of California, San Francisco in 1985 and began working as an obstetrician. She received a master’s in public health in 2006. In 2008, after an eye-opening trip to Nigeria when she observed doctors conducting C-sections and midwives delivering babies in the midst of frequent blackouts, Stachel began working with her husband, Hal Aronson, to develop a portable solar electric kit for maternal health care. Their innovative Solar Suitcases provide efficient medical lighting, phone chargers, and a fetal monitor, allowing health workers to provide round-the-clock emergency care for mothers and newborns. As of 2015, We Care Solar has distributed more than a hundred Solar Suitcases to health centers in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nepal, the Philippines, and Tanzania, among others, and the organization was awarded a million-dollar grant by the UN. While running the organization, Stachel taught at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health from 2009–2011, served as associate director for emergency obstetrical health at UC Berkeley’s Bixby Center from 2009–2012, and chaired an international working group on energy and health for the UN Foundation from 2011–2014.
Laura Stachel is a grantee of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York (JWFNY), and is featured as part of a partnership between JWA and JWFNY spotlighting Jewish women social entrepreneurs.