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Jodhula is a small village situated in the district of Jaipur, Rajasthan. The village is partially electrified where 6 houses have domestic connections and 50 tube wells have agricultural electric connections for irrigation. The electricity supply is extremely erratic and sometimes there is no supply for 2-3 days in a row. Jodhula is a sparsely populated village with clusters of homes spread across the whole village. The streets are dark and have no lights and mobility becomes a big challenge for the villagers especially for women and children. People use kerosene and paraffin lanterns to meet their lighting needs.
A solar charging station under LaBL was commissioned in Jodhula in 2008. The campaign is being anchored on the ground by the Humana People to People India (HPPI), an NGO that has been engaged in development activities in the village for a long time. The charging station is managed and operated by Sadhu Ram Gurjar, a village elderly who is a farmer and seller of milk and milk products. Though Sadhu Ram’s house is electrified, he realizes the importance of the initiative for the villagers. For him the welfare of the villagers was the prime motive behind setting up the charging station. He was also concerned about the health conditions of the children in the village who were subjected to prolonged exposures to smoke and dim light while using the kerosene lanterns for studying. His young daughter Mamta helps him manage the charging station. ‘Solar lantern has led to welfare of the village. Children do not complain of headache now in the morning. The doctor had asked to keep away from smoke. Now it is possible’, says the young entrepreneur.
The intervention has resulted in visible socio-economic benefits for the community. The villagers are able to protect their fields better in the evenings and fend off crop destroying attacks from stray cattle, which allows them to get value from a full crop. Villagers also use lanterns in the early morning hours to collect milk from buffalos, prepare buttermilk and sell them in the day. The lanterns are also used to sort seasonal vegetables to sell them at local bazaars. On the whole the lanterns have helped villagers use their time more productively.
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