“We didn’t know there can be such bright light after sunset and all we can do is celebrate in joy. It is no less than a festival.” While a villager narrated this, a few young women were busy decorating the house with a Rangoli. After all it was Diwali for them. “Life has become easier now,” he added with a smile.
Even after 69 years of independence approximately 78 million rural households don’t have option to see a ray of light after the sunset. Kerosene lamps are still the only source of light in such households.
In an effort to provide a clean and affordable lighting solution to rural India, our “Light a Home” campaign was born. Following a bottom-up approach it has impacted more than 16,500 households. Today we have brought solar energy based lighting solutions to the more than 65,000 people and have provided employment opportunities to many among them.
Use of kerosene and other fuels are not efficient in fulfilling lighting needs of a household. Moreover, they are hazardous to health.
Due to our interventions many households have been lit by solar energy based lamps. Now children can study even at night. The dependency on kerosene has reduced and simultaneously multiple employment opportunities have been generated by employing the locals to install and to maintain these solar lamps.
How does the journey look so far?
Over 16,500 homes
have been lit up transforming the lives of over 65,000 people
98 solar entrepreneurs
created across India
1,033 solar engineers
trained to install and service home lighting systems
1,500 solar study lights
distributed to school children in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Karnataka in 2016
15,000 solar lights
distributed in tribal areas across India
8 solar micro grids
setup in rural belt of West Bengal, Karnataka and Maharashtra
How did we work?
The first step of the project was to select non-electrified remote villages that would benefit from this project. After the selection a brief was conducted for the community members of villages to engage them in the project. Subsequently, a Village Energy Committee (VEC) was created that identified households interested in installing solar lighting solution.
Outreach programs were then conducted to select youth from each village who underwent our special YLTP program. These local youth were provided solar lantern/home light system assembling, installation and repairing training. They now work as entrepreneurs taking full ownership of distribution, installation and maintenance of the equipment thus ensuring sustainability of the initiative.
What did we learn?
The power of youth is unmatchable, especially if they are trained, educated and their entrepreneurial energies are unleashed. Leveraging on the community energies and utilizing a sustainable model like this can initiate fruitful social change.
How can you contribute?
By building strategic partnerships with corporate houses like Schneider Electric, Sun and Luminous we have created a scalable model that can be replicated in other places also. We invite you to join hands with us to expand the scope of this project.