Puru Solar Lights

Puru is a tiny village in Dhading District of Nepal, two long days walk from the end of the motorable road. It is perched on a steep slope of Bhabil Khola river, about two hours climb from Menchet Khola valley where the bigger Tipling village is located. The trail from Tipling to Puru is extremely beautiful – the path descends first down to the river through a lush forest, then climbs up again to an open view of the snow peaks dividing Tibet and Nepal.

PVF_3931

The path can be dangerous though, especially in the night. The 84 households of Puru are more remote and poorer than their neighbors, and Puru is also the only ward of Tipling cluster with no electricity at all. Other settlements nearby receive electricity for about 12 hours from after sunset, which provides enough power for one dim lightbulb per house.

j11

Puru only has one primary school, so to continue their education all kids have to walk every day to Tipling – and then back – in complete darkness.

Imagine turning off all the lights in your house and on the streets. Imagine walking in the dancing light of a burning piece of wood you are holding in your hand. Add to that the struggle of winding your way up and down endless stone steps – which are mostly covered in ice in winter and slippery during monsoon. Keep in mind too, the snakes in the bushes that are all around. Now, you have to walk alongside a 500-meter chasm where even one wrong step could take you over the edge plunging to your death. Children in Puru do it every evening, that’s how they get home from school.

Копия PVF_9421

They reach home – a smoke-filled tin shack – in complete darkness. Some of those shacks have solar lights that have been distributed by the government, but light is barely adequate for cooking and definitely not sufficient for reading. In other homes, children try, usually unsuccessfully, to do their homework by firelight.

We wanted to change this, even if our funds only allowed us to distribute one lamp per household, not one lamp per person. Portable solar lamps manufactured by “D.light” company seemed to be a perfect solution. Dubbed “Learning Lights” by the manufacturer, they are reliable, easy-to-carry and can be charged even in indirect sunlight to provide many hours of clear light that is 3 times brighter than kerosene lamp. We were really happy to bring them to Puru, where the local school Principal helped us to organise the distribution in an orderly fashion.

PVF_9634
PVF_9744
PVF_9640

Their bright, focused light makes these lamps ideal for reading and writing.  Fantastic Initiative has distributed one portable solar light per each household with kids.

new65

It was heartwarming to see how happy these gifts made the children. That same evening, we visited some of them at home and were delighted to see kids already making use of the lamps.

However, some families (those who had no kids) and single elderly people did not get lights. With the kind help of “Remote Village Project” from Australia we managed to get enough lamps for them too, thus covering every household in Puru. Four weeks after the initial visit we brought the D-Lights to the remaining households and distributed them according to the list provided by the Village Development Committee.

j22

In total 81 lamps were distributed – so that every inhabited house in the village now has a bright sustainable light that will work for at least five years.

Later we were flooded by requests from surrounding villages. Even though kids and hamlets with no electricity at all are our priority, solar lights are essential commodities for other villagers as well. Tamang people inhabiting this area spend a lot of time on highland pastures tending their livestock. During the summer months whole families leave for the mountains to stay in shepherd shacks with no light at all. Just one light for a family can make a huge difference, changing the quality of their lives and reducing the risk of occasional injury.

j33

In October 2016 we are planning to distribute more D-lights in the village of Kamigaon – yet another settlement in Tipling proximity that was especially badly struck by the earthquake.

PVF_9860