Living up to her name that means light of the world, Noor Jehan has been spreading light in at least 500 homes in Bairi Dariyaon and its neighbouring villages for the last 10 years.
A mother of seven who became a widow 25 years ago, Noor Jehan said, “Being uneducated, I didn’t have a source of income to raise six daughters and a son. I faced great difficulty while cooking and completing daily chores after sunset.”
“Since our village didn’t have electricity, children couldn’t study at night. Also, people avoided using kerosene lamps as they feared their houses could catch fire,” she added.
She then came in contact with Shramik Bharti, an NGO teaching people about the power of solar energy. An inspired Noor Jehan proposed to distribute solar lanterns in 50 houses of her village.
A woman named Noor Jehan in Kanpur is doing an unthinkable job. She is providing light to poor by using solar energy: PM #MannKiBaat— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) November 29, 2015
“I convinced people to use solar lamps as they were cheaper and safer,” she recalled. The next hurdle was how to charge these lamps.
Noor Jehan formed a group that helped her set up a solar power centre equipped with solar panels. She began to rent out the lanterns for Rs 100 per month.
Every evening, villagers come to collect a charged lantern and return it in the morning. From the money that she earns, Noor Jehan deposits Rs 1,700 in the centre for maintenance.
“I help my mother in her initiative that has not only changed the lives of people in this village but also in neighbouring villages,” said Shamshad Ahmed.