Stories

 

Vittalapuram, India

KEPT AT A DISTANCE FROM CIVILIZATION

Nearly 20% of humanity lives without electricity and while living off the grid has become somewhat of a "trendy" decision in many parts of the world, with promises of a life free from stress and debt, those born in remote areas unfortunately don't have the same experience. For over 400 million people living in India, being disconnected from the grid is something you're born into, not something you choose. Kept at a distance from civilization and excluded from government programs because of a hereditary social standing, generations of poor communities are caught in an endless cycle with no chance of upward mobility.

Without electricity, kerosene has become the primary source of fuel for cooking and lighting in rural India. According to The World Health Organization, chronic exposure to kerosene can result in a wide range of health issues with women and children being the most vulnerable to indoor pollution caused by the toxic fumes. In addition to the health implications, kerosene is highly flammable with reports of stove and lamp explosions causing deaths and severe burns every year. What most would consider simple, routine tasks like cooking meals and lighting your home at night are done at great risk for those forced to rely on kerosene.

GIVING THE GIFT OF MESHA SOLUTIONS

With a patented solar home system, Mesha Energy Solutions is on a mission to address the lack of grid connectivity in these rural areas and mitigate the use of kerosene. Mesha recently partnered with Crisil Foundation and Sevai Karangal to bring their solar systems to 25 families in the small village of Vittalapuram. With a population of just 301 and 95% of its residents systematized beneath India's traditional caste system, they are quite literally left to live in the dark. The scene at night in these remote villages is complete darkness with little to no visibility. It's not uncommon for snakes and other predatory animals to prey on these families during the night making it dangerous to move around the village after dark.

Balaji lives here with his wife and two children in a shelter he built from scavenged materials. To support his young family, Balaji works as a coolie or laborer in the fields that surround his home with almost 25% of his income used to purchase kerosene. Their first night with Mesha's solar system was the beginning of a new life for Balaji and his family. A cost savings of 300 rupees per month is only one of the many benefits they are seeing. Something as simple as having enough light has a tremendous effect on the whole community. Children are able to study at night, helping them succeed against all odds. Neighbors are gathering at night to share stories and plan social events, reinvigorating cultural traditions.

DAYS NO LONGER END WHEN THE SUN SETS 

A village that once seemed destined to remain stagnant in the shadows of modern society is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. A new sense of optimism and hope for a better future could be within reach for the first time in decades. Mesha is bringing light to the world, one community at a time. Help us expand opportunities and reduce pollution in impoverished communities, everywhere.