I’ve been holding a certain set of solar-powered flashlights hostage for a while now – although a couple of them escaped to Sphoorti by bravely concealing themselves in my bag of art supplies and have earned their keep during our frequent power cuts. Evening-time activities like cooking dinner for 80 children turn out better with lighting.
But that’s not exactly the reason these lights came all the way to India. Creating a curriculum to learn about solar power with everyone at Sphoorti is only the first part. Part two, and liberty for a few more lights, arrived today with a representative of the Medical and Cultural Association of Repalle. This NGO runs a community center, weekly free clinic, and an ambulance – and organized a solar-light distribution program in the wake of the flooding. They took the recommendations of local teachers to choose 100 school children whose families had lost their electricity (and everything else) in the water. Now, they are hoping to distribute another 100 lights to a village where electricity hasn’t even sparked, and tribal people/Adivasis/aboriginal Indians/Scheduled Tribes/Upajati/Adibashi are trying to educate their children, too. (I don’t know enough to choose a term for you here.)
Today we sent four samples for testing, gauging interest, planning, and hopefully lighting up just a few evenings that need it.