Entering Sarita’s world is almost like going back in time… to a scattering of rural villages that lack even the most basic of necessities. Sarita’s home is near the city of Luckhnow which is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh in North Central India.
Sarita wrote in this note: “This light is handy and can be taken everywhere. In comparison to ordinary lamps this solar light continues to provide Light for studying for long hours. Generally five of us sit together under two solar lights while studying. This has been a boon to us.”
The river Gomti runs through the center of the sprawling town of Lukhnow which is known for its culture and ancient history that dates back over two thousand years. It is lush with gardens and tree lined roads. But as you travel a few miles out of town the terrain quickly becomes rugged and you almost go back in time to a scattering of rural villages that lack even the most basic of necessities.
Sarita (12) lives in one such village with her grand parents, her mother Prema, her two brothers Lalu (5) and Chottu (4), and two sisters Ankita (7) and Reena (9). They have lived at the edge of the village their entire life as they are from a lower caste in the community. While legally there is no room for such discrimination, as in all parts of the world, there are backward areas that are relatively untouched by the twenty first century. Much progress has been made in these communities, but century-old traditions take centuries to eradicate. Often these families exist on not just minimal sustenance, but they are also sapped of all their strength, self-esteem and dignity as human beings.
Sarita’s hut is the smallest hut in the village and it is set slightly apart from the rest of the cluster of huts. They are very poor, as Prema is the only income-earning member of this family of 8. Their lifestyle is very simple and the entire family survives on just 1 acre of land. The land is close to the river Gomti and while water is abundant, the land is sandy and it produces a poor crop of wheat and paddy (rice). This land is tilled to provide them with an income as well as their daily meals. The monthly income for the family is $30.00 of which they were spending almost $7 a month on kerosene to get approximately 2 hours of dim light every day. Sarita’s meals consisted of one whole wheat roti for lunch and for dinner she ate one whole wheat roti with seasonal vegetables and lentils. Receiving a Mighty Light earlier this year has changed their lives.
Sarita always loved school, but she has became more interested in her studies as she now enjoys studying in the evenings by the clear, white light of the MightyLight. And Prema is earning a little extra income by staying late in the fields. She can come home late and still complete her housework in the light of the MightyLight. Prema is saving some of the money that she was spending on kerosene. She is also able to provide milk for the children and is planning to buy some chickens soon.
The biggest difference in Sarita’s life has been the fact that for the first time in her life she has been treated just like the other children.