Pankaj’s village in Bharaich had no electricity for the past several years – and he had no recollection of using electricity to light up his home ever. Yet, everytime he travels to a large city, like Lucknow, he remained hopeful of turning on the switch some day.

The hope had been fading fast, and Pankaj had turned 26 – he was finished with school and had been hanging around with friends in the village. Agriculture was the main occupation and his family survived on tilling the small land holding that they had, and at times, working as washers in the cities. When the weather gods supported, they had a good crop – and that was enough to see them through a few months.

Pankaj’s life changed when he heard of a project being done around solar eletrification in a nearby district. He went to Sitapur where a small village was being electrified. On enquiring, he got a job with the company that was installing this project – and he learnt the ropes there. He was determined to get electricity into his village.

It has been three months that Semri Malma has electricity via solar – small amounts of lighting available for 30 houses cluster in the village. The lighting has changed people’s lives there. LED lighting provides, enough light to the occupants in the house to cook and eat, and for the children to study better. The kerosene lamp still lies in the house, somewhere, but not used – and smoky fumes are no longer bothering children and women in the house.

When you talk to Pankaj, there is a certain confidence in him – he says it was his dream to see his home lit – and he has been able to do better – he has got light for many more homes than just his alone.

There are many more Pankaj’s out there.. lets discover them – and change lives for the better.. lets light their lives !

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