Solar Lamps Light Up Futures

Solar Lamps Light Up Futures

“Whenever I thought about studying at night, I was deterred by power cuts. Having received this solar lamp from HDFC bank, I can now study at night”, says Rakhi Kumari, a Dalit student in the 10th standard from the Kolawan village in Harnaut Block of Bihar’s Nalanda disrict. Rakhi, the daughter of Kanchan Devi and Tuntun Paswan, landless farm labourers, aspires to become an IPS officer.

Rampant power cuts in the villages of Bihar is one of the most common causes for the disruption of studies for children. This is even more disruptive for girls—juggling between household chores, managing siblings, and taking time out to study—for whom night is the only time they can catch up with their studies after having wrapped up their day's work. Unfortunately, it is at night when the power cut is at its worst. This is extremely disheartening for the girls who aspire to have careers and break the shackles of poverty—all because they lack access to proper lighting. 

After taking cognizance of this issue, Oxfam India, with HDFC Bank, came up with a solution—it distributed solar lamps to 300 families across 15 villages in three blocks of the Nalanda District. These were given to the most marginalised families—both economically and socially. Of the 300 families, 100 belong to Dalit community. One of the criteria for the distribution of solar lamps was the family should have a college or school-going girl child.

 Each beneficiary was given two solar lights—one for girl students to use for their studies and the other for the women for their household use. So while Rakhi, along with her younger brother and sister, can study at night, her mother Kanchan Devi can cook and do other household chores with the other.

It is important to note that children like Rakhi have no access to smartphones and were completely deprived of any digital education in the last one and a half years. They have however, kept studying with whatever resources they had so that they do not lose touch and go back to school as soon as tit reopens. 

The distribution of solar lights helped in not just overcoming the disruption in studies, it also aided in the reduction of the district’s carbon foot print. Oxfam India-HDFC project—UTTHAN—has been working in 15 villages in Nalanda since July 2020. HDFC’s CSR initiative Parivartan aims to ‘Create Sustainable Communities’ by enhancing sustainable livelihood options and improving access to essential services, especially of women and girls, from the most marginalised and vulnerable communities.

This has ensured that Rakhi, and many others like her, can continue with their studies uninterrupted. She is now one step closer in achieving her aspirations of becoming an IPS officer. 

📢Oxfam India is now on Telegram. Click here to join our Telegram channel and stay tuned to the latest updates and insights on social and development issues. 


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