June 18, 2017
By: Pranav Sharma
The mission of One Million Lights piqued my interest. As a global ambassador, I conducted a fundraiser on June 10, 2017 using my performing arts skills to raise funds for distributing 100 solar lamps.
With the coordination of One Million Lights and SEWA, Mumbai, on June 18, I traveled to Jawhar taluka, Palghar District of Maharashtra. At the Divya Vidyalaya, I handed solar lamps to each of the representatives from 10 social organizations. Next, I headed to Patkar Pada in Mokhada taluka to personally distribute solar lamps to needy tribal families.
Ninety percent of the tribal people residing in these areas are below poverty line (BPL). These tribes lack education and are illiterate. The huts had roofs made of leaves and twigs, situated relatively isolated from one another. To reach the huts, we had to travel through bumpy terrain with caution. A few representatives from SEWA kindly assisted us by explaining our purpose to the families in the local language.
After meeting the families and distributing the solar lamps, I felt fortunate for having the opportunity to enable the families to perform their daily tasks after sunset. The safe solar lamps will allow them to use environmentally safe lighting instead of harmful kerosene lamps. By enabling families to work after sunset and use solar energy, they can use their extra income to support their children’s education leading to brighter futures.
By seeing the joy on the individuals’ faces, my interaction with them led me to learn about their various means of livelihood. Apart from farming, they informed me about their unique tradition of creating and selling a specific musical instrument: a dried bottle gourd shell.
Throughout this journey, I had a chance to learn more about the reality outside of my personal surroundings. I hope that my work inspires more individuals to join the cause and bring clean, safer alternative energy to those who around the world who lack access.