July 26, 2012
In rural western Nepal, Give2Asia made a $20,000 grant recommended by The Sanctuary Fund that transformed a small village near Lamjung. Here, 156 families live together with no road access, no electrical infrastructure, and no government plan to build either. When the sun sets, some villagers use small kerosene lamps to light their homes. Others use small indoor fires. But kerosene is expensive on meager income and fires inside the mud-brick and straw houses run a serious risk of consuming those homes, so still others have been left in the dark.
Village Solutions Nepal (VSN) specializes in overcoming these issues not by building roads or running power lines, but by installing and maintaining simple and affordable solar lamps that it designs and manufactures. With Give2Asia’s grant, VSN installed four solar lamps in 95 of the village households over the course of a single month.
“Life without light is like life in the Stone Age. Life after getting solar light has made us feel that we are living a real life,” said one resident. “We are able to do income generating work in the light and we are saving money that was used to buy the kerosene. We are happy and healthy now because we have smoke free light.”
Apart from making the village a little brighter, the solar lamps have contributed to village life in many ways. Children who never studied outside of school began studying at home in the evening and school attendance increased. Money that was spent on kerosene and the time spent travelling to purchase it, is now put towards education and work in the village. De-forestation for firewood has been significantly reduced, allowing the ecosystem to better protect against floods and mudslides common to the mountainous region. Lastly, women in the village are using the extra hours of light to earn more income for their families.
Give2Asia will continue to work with Village Solutions because it’s work clearly demonstrates that local knowledge and innovative technology can overcome issues in geography and infrastructure while improving daily life in a variety of ways.