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Imagine that you live in rural Africa in a hut with no electricity. The only way to light your dwelling at night is to burn kerosene. The kerosene lantern fills your home with black, toxic smoke that poisons the air your children breathe and pollutes the environment. Kerosene is also highly flammable and accidents are common. It is so expensive that it consumes half of your income, yet you have no alternative….except living in darkness. Most people here in the developed world are unaware that this is the daily reality for millions in impoverished countries. We take the ability to light our homes for granted, and even think of it as a human right.
Ms. Sidana realized that the need for clean, safe, and affordable light in impoverished areas is urgent and life changing after visiting a school founded by her father in a remote village in Rajasthan, India. Visions of children rubbing their eyes in the smoke, women walking for miles to buy kerosene, and workers hunched over these lamps motivated her to leave the fast-paced life of high technology in Silicon Valley, and start One Million Lights. The philosophy behind One Million Lights is that by empowering populations at the bottom of the world’s economic pyramid, significant and systemic change can be achieved.
Before heading One Million Lights, Ms. Sidana spent over twenty years in the highly competitive world of high technology with careers ranging from product strategy to marketing. Most recently she was in a full time role at eBay Inc as PayPal’s Director of Financial Products. Before joining eBay, Ms. Sidana was vice president of marketing and alliances at several startups including Callixa and eTime Capital. She has held management positions at Netscape, Visa International, and Ernst & Young. Ms. Sidana is also a successful artist in her spare time and enjoys living with her two young children in the Bay Area.