Income and Education

Overcoming limitations

District: Mayurbhanj, Orissa Village: Mirgimundi Partner Organization: Sambandh

Somnath Singh, 35, owns a cycle repair shop just outside his village Mirgimundi. He opens his shop as early as 7 am, just as most of his village people take their cycles to work. Being the only cycle repairman in the village, Somnath is quite popular. "This village runs on the cycle. The cycle is our lifeline", says Sundar Mohanto, who has come to get his cycle repaired. "Everyone comes to get their cycle repaired either in the morning while going to work or in the evening while coming back from work" says Somnath.

But this was not the case before the village received solar lighting alternatives under the Lighting a Billion Lives initiative. Earlier, Somnath could only work till sunset as there was no lighting in his village. He was able to earn a meager 700 rupees a month that resulted in zero savings. After a solar charging station was installed in Mirgimundi, Somnath like many other small businessmen, now works even after dark and earns almost double of his earlier income. He uses the solar lantern for 3 extra hours in the evening and that makes all the difference. He now earns 1200 rupees a month, allowing him to set a little aside for savings and support his family better.

Like Somnath, many other residents in the village have also benefitted from the solar lanterns. 36 year old Daroni Dhar says, "We want more lanterns here. These lanterns have benefited us so much. Our lives are better, our health is better, and now there is life even after dark. Now that the LED lantern is here, I have learned how to read and write. Now I can sign in front of my name. I feel extremely proud".

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