A unique project of ‘Illuminating Lives’ with Solar Power
Absolute darkness - is just not a horrific experience but also demonstrates helplessness for thousands of farming families in the marginalized rural areas of India. The state of darkness does not fade away from them even in broad daylight. The absence of electricity has multiple effects on the lives of these villagers residing in rural India especially tribal. The lack of electricity deprives them of basic necessities like livelihood opportunities and has them face various health issues. The lack of employment opportunities often leads to migration and in turn poses a huge threat to the agricultural economy of our nation.
A strong desire always becomes a determination and every darkness leads to light. A village with no electricity is 15-20 years lacking behind in progress. If the electricity were to be made accessible, these villages can and will grow tremendously. With the desire to challenge the darkness, PRADAN professionals along with the villagers and women collectives like various Self-Help Groups decided to convert the challenge of electrifying the village into a mission. The village had ample sunlight. So using the solar energy to produce electricity was definitely a good idea.
The villagers were taken to various places where solar panels were already installed which convinced them to install the solar panels in their village too. Hence with the help of Bank of America. Appreciating the significance of the plan, and the gravity of the persistent problem, Bank of America extended its support to shape the mission into a sustaining project.
Today, 91 families are connected to the solar grid in the village. There are supervisors or caretakers assigned to every grid. The supervisors were trained by PRADAN professionals on processes like maintenance, installation, bill collection and managing register etc. The collected amount is deposited in the bank of the committee and is utilised for the maintenance of the grid, making it a self-reliant unit.
Why only electrification..? The villagers understood the potential of the solar grids in other life changing operations. Operating a diesel machine used to cost the farmers INR 145 on an average; with solar power operating the machine, it costs them just INR 45. The farmers now use lift irrigation to cultivate their lands for two or three times a year. People are now earning more and migration has considerably decreased.
Not only in Binjpur, but other 14 villages nearby have been beneficiaries of these solar installations. The project has not only made huge impact but also made sure no natural resources were depleted.
PRADAN (Professional Assistance for Development Action) is a non-government, non-profit organisation that works with India’s rural poor. Across seven of the poorest states in the country, PRADAN professionals engage with disadvantaged communities to help them emerge from poverty and lead a life of dignity. PRADAN promotes Self-Help Groups, develops locally relevant economic activities, mobilises finances from government schemes and introduces models to improve livelihoods of the rural poor and sustain their progress.
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