India – Rajasthan

Essay Contest Winner Shares her Prize

DC Area High School Student, Karishma Popli, Brings Solar Light to Rural Indian School

Students at Haveli School in India sit on the floor to learn and return to a dark home after school, making evening study nearly impossible.

The light distribution at Haveli School in Rajasthan started from a grant written by a high school junior, Karishma Popli. Her school, Thomas Jefferson High in Virginia, hosted a school-wide competition to address the question, “What are the Social Responsibilities of Educated People?” Karishma’s winning piece was about how she believes it is the social responsibility of educated people to help educate those less fortunate and confined by rural impediments. Read more about it here.

Haveli school lies in an arid and inhospitable desert region in the Northern part of India, where most families earn their living through tough agricultural work. Students put in a full day of school, help parents with chores and farm work until dark, and are left with no daylight hours for study. Solar lights provide clean, safe light for study and personal development.

Thanks goes out to the Popli family for helping coordinate such a large project at the Haveli School.

A little girl smiling for our cameras, with her classmates at Haveli School in Rajasthan, India

Karishma writes:

I am a fourth generation American of Indian descent. My great-grandfather converted his ancestral home (haveli) into a school for underprivileged students in grades K-12 prior to emigrating permanently to the U.S. When I visited India for the first time in 2006, I was shocked at how difficult it was to study or read at night due to lack of consistent electricity. Alternative energy sources, such as solar lamps would make a tremendous quality of life improvement for the students of the Haveli School, as they learn how to harness energy from the sun. This is a practical, low-cost, and efficient way to bring rural school children out of the darkness and into the future with solar technology!

The whole process that went into planning and setting up the project was worth the final result. Seeing all 350 students, gathered in the school courtyard, eager to receive a solar lamp as well as learn about the benefits of solar technology is something I will never forget.