New solar lights are changing lives in Farzana's community. Photo by Daniel Mung, World Vision
Most of us are used to the perks of electricity in our daily lives. In many of the communities where World Vision works, access to electricity is not such a given – which adds some challenges to daily life! That’s why in 2014 World Vision provided 10,000 solar lights to communities across Delhi and Lucknow in India. Here are five ways these solar lights are changing the lives of those that received them!
Eight-year-old Alam with his friends. Photo by Daniel Mung, World Vision
- Easier to study
For kids like eight-year-old Alam and his sister Farzana, the solar lights make it easier to study and complete their homework each night.”We had to take turns to study as the light from our kerosene-powered lamps was insufficient for us five siblings. The dim light caused eye irritation due to smoke emitted and was straining to the eye. Studying for examinations was the most challenging part,” says Farzana.”Since the solar bulbs are very luminous, all my siblings can study together and my grades have improved,” adds Alam.
Alka plays with her friends at night. Photo by Daniel Mung, World Vision
- Safer on the streets
The community has used some of the solar lights provided to illuminate their streets, making it safer for women and children to walk around at night. “Due to solar illumination, we are not only able to study and do our home-work after sunset but gain confidence in going out and meeting friends to play after dark. I enjoy this fearlessness at night,” says 14-year-old Alka. Children run around the neighbourhood shouting with joy, “World Vision wali light aa gayi” [World Vision light has come].
Nafisa cooks dinner for the family. Photo by Daniel Mung, World Vision
- More hours in the day
“Earlier, we had to complete all our chores before sundown. Be it cooking food, completing home-work from school or any other household activity,” says Farzana. Now, Farzana’s mother can cook dinner for her family at her leisure, without having to rush before sundown.
Gaffar at his shop. Photo by Daniel Mung, World Vision
- Better business opportunities
“My earnings have doubled since solar bulbs have been provided by World Vision India as my shop opens for longer hours in the night. This has helped me pay my children’s education,” says Gaffar, Farzana’s father. Plus, Farzana’s older sister Asmin is now earning extra income by tailoring clothes at night. “Business is running well and we have clients from the three neighbouring communities as well,” says Asmin.
Local women holding ‘sangeet’. Photo by Daniel Mung, World Vision
- A revival of social life
The solar lights have led to an increase in community social gatherings as life can now go on beyond sunset. “Solar bulbs have empowered all families to enjoy equal opportunity to celebrate life moments with the whole community,” says Santosh, the president of a self-help group in Sambhal, India. “After hard days labour work, we men gather together, share about issues in the village and collectively make decisions towards resolving them. It has deepened community cohesion,” says Sree Ram, who is a retired school teacher and a member of the village development committee.For the women, the lights make it easier to gather for ‘Sangeet’, where they sing and celebrate occasions like the birth of a new baby. As women are busy working and looking after children during day time, evenings are the only time when they can all meet together.”Previously before the solar bulbs, holding sangeet by poorer families in the community was difficult as they would not be able to afford for arranging light system for the night. Due to this, very less women would come to these celebrations,” says 46-year-old Santosh.
So there you have it – a small gift that is having a big impact for families and communities. World Vision photographer Daniel Mung recently visited the area to see the impact of the project. He said “seeing numerous villages come out of darkness and the duration of each day increased by six hours due to World Vision’s intervention of solar lights is a boost to the impact our organization is having.”
You can help World Vision provide solar lights to communities through our World Vision Gifts Catalogue.