Income and Education

Reclaiming lost ambition

District:Khordha, Orissa Village: Managalajodi Partner Organization: Council of Professional Social Workers (CPSW)

Fifteen year old Alaka Rautaray's career seemed to be slipping away, even before it truly took off. Her family members, who were all farmers, couldn't afford to buy kerosene to light up even one lamp in the evenings for her to study in, causing her studies to suffer. 'My confidence was nearly all gone and I had almost given up all my ambitions,' Alaka said. Now with access to solar lanterns, Alaka has regained her confidence and is able to study for an everage of 3 hours in the evening by the lantern’s light. The family also saves sixty rupees a day as they don’t need to buy kerosene for lighting anymore and this money is now available for medicines to treat sore eyes and headaches that had been induced due to prolonged exposures to the fumes and smoke from the lamp. Everyone in the family has experienced a positive impact on their health.

For Mangalajodi's students, the lantern has become their window to the world. ‘I can not only study for longer hours, now I can play and do other chores even after it's dusk,' one student shares. The lanterns have also allowed the village's tuition center to flourish. 'The number of students and their concentration and performance has gone up’ says Ullash Chandra Behera, the 38-year-old tutor and owner of the center. He has twenty students enrolled at his center and he believes that Lighting a Billion Lives will enable him to achieve his ambition of educating the entire village. Behera's income has also increased with the increase in number of student enrollments and he now finds it a feasible plan to expand his home tuition center into a proper coaching center in the near future. Even the fishermen in the village are now able to earn better as they now have more time to catch fish, providing a much required impetus to an otherwise slow business.

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