Solar Powered Villages Bid Adieu to ‘Burning the Midnight Oil’
Electricity in rural India is still a dream for many villages & remote locales. Another lacuna is the low literacy rate & lack of employment opportunities for these rural families. There is thus a lack of light both in linguistic & practical sense in these people’s lives.
A famed British economist Dr Shumacher advocated the use of intermediate technology for rural areas to create jobs for villagers as well as bring about a social change in their lives. There was thus a need to create a solution which not only gainfully employed the rural population in Industrial development but also was an apt solution to solve one of their burning problems.
Dr Ranga, a Harvard alumnus has been instrumental in setting an example for Dr Schumaker’s dream for the rural masses through his initiative THRIVE. THRIVE is an acronym for “Volunteer for Rural Health, Education and Information Technology,” situated at Chintapally in Telangana. THRIVE specializes in the innovation-based manufacturing of solar powered products which are priced as low as Rs 150 for the grass-root level customers.
A former World Bank employee, Dr Ranga started THRIVE as an attempt to bring affordable technology to the poor to solve one of their basic problems – access to a clean light source during nights.
Many villages due to the lack of electricity were forced to use kerosene lanterns & other fuels for light during night time. These alternatives not only left a carbon footprint, but were also harmful to the lungs & the eyes of those performing skilled labor in their light at night.
Dr Ranga’s solar powered products dispelled darkness in more than 7 developing countries in the past 15 years. Children from these villages do not require burning the midnight oil any longer to assist in their passion for studying at night while working the days. Many have benefited from the clean energy alternatives provided by Dr Ranga’s products. His village level solar kiosks have in turn brought employability to these villages too.
Dr Ranga has also started a “One child one lamp” initiative which allows the urban population to donate these LED based lighting solutions to village children to assist in their night study needs.
These LED-based lightening solutions are not only long lasting, durable with product warranties but also have many indirect advantages such as avoidance of fires to the huts caused by kerosene lamps. This has also made the rural population more technologically advanced. As of now, nearly 5 lakh School Children have benefited from the OCOL Programme. The resultant fuel saved has helped in conserving nearly 2 Million Litres of Kerosene and reducing 5000 Tonnes of CO2 emissions each month.
India has many unmet needs in rural or urban settings. It is up to us to identify our skillsets & volunteer to bring a change in the field we can most easily commit to. Dr Ranga’s initiatives have brought technology to the villager’s doorstep, thus eliminating their need to migrate to the ever so bustling cities for better infrastructure.
You too can donate your sweat to help a cause which demands your skillful intervention. Together we can not only bring hope for the nation but also help improve the lives of millions around us. Simply start by providing a LED lamp to your housemaid whose children might still be studying in the flickering flames of a kerosene lamp.
It is said that volunteers do not necessarily have the time, but they have the heart. We too can help bring light into lives of people by small deeds of kindness offered with-out any expectation in return.