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Lack of proper infrastructure including shortage of basic facilities like electricity ultimately lead to student attrition in rural Karnataka. Lack of reliable electrical power forces students to resort to kerosene lamps and candles as they require adequate lighting to study at night. Dim light, heat and the harmful smoke of the kerosene lamps adversely affect their productivity. There is also an increased risk of fire accidents and other health risks like burns, injuries and poisonings from fuel ingestion when children handle these kerosene lamps. These problems coupled with the apathy of parents towards the education are contributory factors to their difficulties which ultimately result in children dropping out from school.
With this project, the aim is to impact as many students as possible across Government schools in Karnataka, where electricity is elusive and impacts the household and educational conditions of children. Every Government high-school student gets a solar powered lamp for use at home. These students bring the rechargeable battery of their lamp to school every alternate day for charging at a solar charging station installed at the school (thereby improving attendance). This provides the child (and his/her siblings) 6-8 hours/day of continuous, bright, clean and safe light as compared to what they would otherwise use (kerosene lamps/candles).
Upon these students finishing the 10th Standard, the lights are turned over to the next set of students in the class. This means that every lamp that is given supports more than 5 batches of students. In order to strengthen the program, each student is encouraged to contribute Rs.100 towards the lamp which is kept in a separate bank account maintained by one school teacher and one villager. The amount can be used for post-warranty repairs.
SELCO, a pioneer in solar technology does the installation. For every Rs. 1074 raised through the platform, a matching contribution shall be made by Menda Foundation, an initiative of Mr. Arjun Menda, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur.
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