Friday, April 6, 2012

Solar Light Program, Humana People to People India, Rajasthan, India, November 29, 2009

As evening approaches most villages disappear from my view. With the exception of a fire here and there, nothing disrupts the pure darkness an hour or so after the sun sets. We usually end our work a little bit beforehand so as to make easier our drive back to town.

With this and more in mind, Humana People to People in cooperation with TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) has initiated a bold program. According to their annual report:

India has an urgent need for development and promotion of renewable energy solutions to it’s growing demand for electric power, and a need of providing energy services to large numbers of households, which are deprived of adequate electricity supply. Thus, Humana People to People India has joined hands with TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), in 2008 in the implementation of TERI’s “Lighting a Billion Lives” (LaBL) campaign, with installation of 18 community based solar charging stations in two districts in Rajasthan. 

Self Help Group (SHG) members, trained as entrepreneurs to run the solar charging stations, play a key role as service providers and direct partners in the project. The solar charging station entrepreneurs rent solar lanterns and charge 2-3 Rs. per lantern from the users. The women entrepreneurs maintain log book of the users and the income they are generating every day by renting out the solar lanterns. The 300 Women’s Self Help Groups form an important network in the community as an organized group of beneficiaries and promoters of the solar energy lanterns. Through environment education programs in local schools and colleges the project mobilizes the young generation to take actions in order to protect the environment, promote clean energy and take qualified decisions about energy consumption. 

My experience on this day gives me a taste of this specific project. Women and men come by to pick up their solar lanterns which have been changed since last evening's use. They allow themselves to be photographed during this process with much pride. In the past they would be limited by the setting sun, but now find their day extended with the aid of the lanterns.

In these very villages are the schools we are attempting to support. Humana People to People India does more than open schools, they engage the entire community through various programs. Their association with 'Lighting a Billion Lives' campaign is just one example.

For more of my work, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography

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