More than 1,000 homes in 33 remote villages of Maharashtra will see the light, literally, before Diwali this year. This is thanks to Project Chirag, an initiative by students of SIFE, HR College. Project Chirag is a programme that has already brought electricity to 942 dark villages in the last eight months and will add 80 more on Sunday. A team of 30 students is set light up the houses of Pardipada, a village in Thane district, which has had no electricity till date.
President of the project, Jyotirmoy Chaterjee, said, “Our vision is to light up 5,000 houses in three years. We will be working on the Pan India level in the next two months and globally in the next year.”
Being involved in social activities since long, these students wanted to do some work in rural areas as well. “A few of us visited the Ujjaini village and talked to villagers. We realised electricity could help solve a majority of their problems like child education, etc” Abhinav Mehra, an active member told HT.
The students are keen on education and will be also lighting up Pragati Pratishthan Deaf and Mute School in Jawhar Taluka on Sunday. They think it can be a centre for adult literacy at night. The project provides solar lamp units that comprise a solar lantern, a battery, a tube light and two solar panels that capture sunlight and convert it into light. A unique feature of this unit is that paraplegic people assemble the equipment and earn money from it. Local villagers are also being trained to use and service these equipments for future.
They enjoy proactive support and participation from their college authorities. “Dr Indu Shahani, principal of HR College and the Sheriff of Mumbai, along with prof Pratibha Pai have been major pillars in our campaign. They even joined us at some villages,” Jyotirmoy added.
The villagers praise these students for the light, education and money they now earn in the time saved looking for firewood.