Solar Lamps Lights Up Future

Solar Lamps Lights Up Future

Sunita Devi is a 38 year old woman living in Dharmpur village in Dumra block, in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district. She is from a poor family; the family comprises her husband Ashok Paswan and eight children (7 daughters and a son). Despite doing their best, the couple is not always able to meet the daily needs and sustain this large household with their daily wages earnings. But she is determined to get her children educated —her eldest daughter, Neha Kumari is studying in class XII at Kamala Girls High School in Dumra while her other 6 daughters are enrolled in M S Dharampur school in the village itself.

During the implementation of Project Utthan, an Oxfam India-HDFC initiative, several discussions were held and it turned out that while Neha could go to school, studying at home was becoming challenging due to power cuts. Neha often found the electricity gone in her household as a result of which she was unable to study at night; irregular supply of electricity in rural areas like Sitamarhi result in frequent power outages leaving most households without access to uninterrupted electricity.

To tackle this situation, the Village Development Committee (VDC) provided solar lamps to 440 families in the 15 villages including Neha’s. This was to ensure that others like Neha could continue studying even at night and without any interruptions. In fact, each household was given two solar lamp—one for children to be able to continue their studies and one for the women so that they could cook even after dark.

“I am now using the solar light along with my sisters and brother to study and complete assignments at night. Because of this my performance in the class has improved,” says Neha.

The distribution of solar lights to these households have reduced their dependency on electricity and guaranteed students like Neha Kumari can pursue their education with as few hindrances as possible.

The distribution of solar lights is not just important in overcoming the disruption in studies, it has also aided in the reduction of the district’s carbon foot print. Oxfam India-HDFC project—UTTHAN—has been working in 15 villages in Sitamarhi since March 2021. 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.

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