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Title: Illuminating lives by harnessing solar technology
Organization:Salaam Baalak Trust and Cheil India
Source:Cheil India

Challenge: Almost 80-90% of Delhi slums do not have a stable source of power supply. Children from these localities mostly rely on the light from candles and kerosene lamps for study during power cuts. Irregular power supply becomes a major reason why children are unable to study at home in the evening or late at night. To make matters worse, the flickering quality of such sources of light impairs their eyesight.

They are unable to finish their homework on time and thus start losing interest in school. As a result their education suffers. There is low attendance in schools and subsequent rise in drop out rates.

Salaam Baalak Trust, an NGO working with slum kids for the past twenty five years realized the importance of having a stable source of lighting for children to be able to study after sun set so that they complete their work and do not waste their valuable time in repeating grade years.

Initiative: Thus with the objective of enabling young school going kids to study at home, Cheil India designed a school bag with solar panels and LED lights that would act as school bags by day and study lamps by night for these children.

These bags would get charged as children walked to school and back and during the course of the day as schools are held in open areas. The LED lights would light up by the night, providing children with a stable, un-flickering source of light to study by. Each bag costs around Rs.1500 but was distributed free by Saalam Baalak Trust in their schools.

Outcome/Benefits: The bag has successfully achieved its objective of lighting up areas where power grids have not yet managed to ensure a continuous supply of power. This little move has ensured that children’s education and future is not compromised with. It enables students to study at home, late in the evening after school and finish their homework on time. Classroom teaching followed by self study at home makes children more active in classroom discussion, improves the performance and sustains his/her interest in studies in the long run.

The project has just been launched and till now bags have only been distributed in the slums of Shastri Park. The organization aims at lighting more lives and widening the beneficiary group in the years to come.

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