Dear AFNA supporters,
We would like to profusely thank our supporters for their overwhelming support and involvement with the Solar Light project, which continues to receive a very positive feedback from the community that it serves. As of today, the Solar light: Power to People project has received US $ 6,339 through the Global Giving platform and with your support we hope to raise the additional required amount of $562.
We are short of words as we describe the smiles on the faces of the children and the family members as they benefit from the solar lamp that they have received under this project. We have testimonials from the students sharing how pleased they are with the solar lamp which has not only increased their productivity after school butalso has helped them stay away from the adverse health effects of using kerosene lamps such as headaches and burning and itchy eyes.
We would like to share with you all that since the need of the hour was to support the children with the solar lamps, the project team after intensive deliberation and in consultation with the community members, decided that it would be given out free of cost to the children as against the earlier proposed system of micro loan, where the families would pay the cost through monthly installments. Once this was decided, the project team immediately contacted the local suppliers and shortlisted (after an intensive market research and competitive bidding process) a local company called Electro Plus. They bought a ‘central charging station’ along with a solar panel and 20 lamps. The company was assigned the job of installing the charging station as well as training the students on how to take care of the solar lamp while charging.
Every day, the children judiciously bring their solar lamps to the schools where they charge it during the day time in the charging station and after school they take it back with them. The children are getting an extra 3-4 hours for their studies in the evening due to solar lamp.
“Solar light is so eco friendly. We are not only learning how to take care of our solar lamps but also about the concept of renewable energy’, shares Manju, who is a student at the Parijat Academy. Uttam Teron, the implementing lead, shared that as the students and villagers are becoming aware about the solar lamp, they aremeeting him in large numbers with requests for it.
We want to conclude this report with a high note of enthusiasm and belief that with the support of our donors, we can help the remaining 500 students of Parijat Academy be proud owners of solar lamps.
In this quarter, the AFNA team is happy to announce, that the six families who had been shortlisted to receive the solar light, unanimously volunteered to give away this privilege to the school Parijat Academy, where their children as well as those from the nearby villages (9 in numbers) go to. “We thought that the children and the volunteers (who live there) could benefit from it more at this point of time ,” explained one of the families.
This act of theirs has been applauded by the village communities and the elders. They have indeed set a high example. In the coming months the partner NGO is planning to organize a meeting with the residents of the village and discuss the expansion of this project as well as the generation of funds.
The solar set which is being used by the school consists of the following: one solar battery, a big solar panel, 4 LED light, 1 small table fan and 1 solar charge controller. The children could not contain their excitement at this new addition into their school.
“In fact, we are increasing the knowledge of our student by explaining how the solar light works. It amuses them and one can see their interest in science increasing,” shared one of the volunteer from US, who is currently teaching grammar and arts in the school.
We hope to share more exciting news and video testimonials capturing the impact of the solar lights in our next report. We thank you for your support and request that you share the donation link with your friends and network. We still need your help in meeting the challenge of providing access to electricity to each of the household.
Ankur Bora and Pinky Pradhan
We would like to share some exciting news regarding the ‘Solar Light: Power to People’ project. One of theleading newspapers of India, The Telegraph, did an amazing story on the project, and we have received overwhelming response from it. Please take out some time to read and also share the story: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120602/jsp/northeast/story_15561399.jsp#.T8okY45Z-lI
After securing a permanent spot on the Global Giving team, we are happy to share that donations are stillpouring in and as of today (20th June 2012) we have raised $ 5,040.Yay!!! We are thrilled with the amazing support that this project continues to receive.
The volunteering project teams in the United States as well as the partners from Guwahati, Assam (India) havebeen on their toes laying the preparatory ground work for the project implementation. Several key meetings, video and tele conferences were held to discuss the challenges and to identify cost effective and sustainable solutionand approach. Finally, the team has decided, with substantial inputs from AFNA members, donors and noted local social entrepreneur Mr. Pradip Sharma that the project will strive to create a model solar energy based community center at Garbhanga and the funds will be given to the beneficiaries in the form of a loan.
In its first phase 6 households will be selected on a trial basis for distributing the home light solutions. Also,after due diligence and proper market research, Electro Plus, a Guwahati based solar lighting products developer has been identified to be the provider. The system that has been proposed is a 10W panel, a 7AH/ 12V battery, a chargecontroller integrated with the battery box and two 3W LED lights. If both the lights are used together then the fully charged battery can provide backup for about 12 hours. Each light can be pulled to a distance of about 15 meters from the battery with the help of extra wires without voltage drop. In good light conditions it will take about eight hours to fully charge the battery. There is a 25 years warranty on the panel, 1 year warranty on the battery and 2 yearswarranty on the other equipments of the system. The cost of the system is Rs. 3,200 i.e. (approx 75 $).
The villagers will select the households among themselves and the selected household will pay Rs. 300 (approx 6$) every month towards loan repayment, including two months advance. However, if they cannot afford to provide 2 months’ advance then one month’s advance shall be paid. Though the system price is Rs. 3200, an additional 400 Rs (4.5 $), will be collected and paid to a service provider (preferably a local woman) who will be supervising the loan repayment and providing simple maintenance work if needed. The emphasis on a strict loan repayment was stressed upon by Mr. Pradip Sharma. “The loan repayment policy should be strict so that later we don’t have to face difficulties in collecting the money and thus replicating the model.”
In the next few weeks, we expect the 6 households replacing the kerosene lamps with the solar lighting devices. A new journey will begin.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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