NDTV-TERI campaign: Solar lanterns brighten up Assam village

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Jharuwagaon (Assam):  On a winter evening in Assam's Jaruagaon village, six-year-old Rupjyoti is searching for his solar lantern.

This is the time when Jaruwagaon's children return home with their respective lanterns - every day since the solar lamps were given to this village in October last year as part of NDTV-TERI light a billion lives campaign.

Solar lanterns have not only brightened up the dark evenings here, but have made better economic sense.

Champabala's general store is lit up with the same lantern. She says the kerosene lamp's vapour would give her a headache. Now she works longer hours.

"After this light we all have benefitted. Children can study and we can work in the evenings. It's quite amazing," said Champabala.

Rupjyoti reluctantly sits with his school text book while his elder brother helps peal betelnut which is sold in the market the next day. The dark evenings of Jaruwagaon are now all lit up.

Ganga Devi would spend at least Rs 150 a week buying kerosene, but now this lamp comes for just Rs 3 a day. A supersaver. And it lasts all evening.

The village has no idea how this lamp arrived but they wanted to thank whoever sponsored it.

Jaruwagaon was sponsored by Shubhra Nag in the NDTV-TERI fundraiser for lighting a billion lives.

At least 20 villages around Jaruwagaon do not have electricity. But the idea of this solar lantern and a few peoples' willingness to come out and change lives has actually changed at least 500 lives in this village alone.

From children studying, to men working and women weaving on the loom, it's literally been a change from darkness unto light.



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