“SoUL: The Essence of Life in Dungarpur aims at Providing Clean and Reliable Power Source to Children for Study and Transfer of Solar Technology Skills to Local Tribal Women…”
Once upon a time, Dungarpur was a dark, gloomy and most backward block in Rajasthan. Based in a hilly and difficult region, it was hard for state government to supply electricity to every household in Dungarpur district. Vast geographical area made it almost impossible, which is why 60.6% households were without electricity. However, collective efforts by state government, Dungarpur public, collectorate and IIT engineers lit every household with light. Today, Dungarpur radiates smiles and joys, all thanks to Solar Sakhi, collaboration between Rajasthan government and IIT Mumbai. The positive outcomes of this small-scale project were rewarded by the Centre.
This Civil Service Day (21st April 2017), PM Narendra Modi felicitated Dungarpur district collector Mr. Surendra Kumar Solanki for his innovation and outstanding contribution in the Solar Sakhi project. The award ceremony was conducted at Science Building, New Delhi. People like Solanki show us how a single idea can change countless lives. Here’s is how the district lit up with cheap, efficient and reliable light source.
Self Reliance, Employment & Education: Dungarpur Moves Towards a Bright Future, all Thanks to Solar Sakhis…
Dungarpur district has multiple villages like Dongri, Dabela and Mandva Kaparda, where blackouts disrupted domestic works, education and business. Low literacy rates (47.89%) and poor employment conditions kept innovative ideas at bay. In 2016, Dungapur district collectorate partnered with IIT Mumbai for Rajeevika (Rajasthan Gramin Ajeevika Vikas Parishad) project.
Every citizen in Dungarpur has the right to light and bright education. Keeping in line with this thought, IIT Mumbai professionals provided skill-based training to 150 tribal women in district. Solar Sakhi—a term coined for these women, got proficient at assembling, distributing, repairing and maintaining Solar Urja Lamps (SoUL). IIT Mumbai has previously distributed approximately 1 lakh SoULs all over the country.
About 40,000 pieces were ordered and distributed to rural school going students. Transparent, cheap and efficient mode of distributing electricity, these solar lamps provide portable light for study. These lamps define the essence of life in Dungarpur. Women are independent, men can devote more time to business activities at night and students perform better at school, as they can revise lessons at home.
Today, Dungarpur has four solar shops governed by Solar Sakhis. The positivity has spread to adjacent areas too. Hundreds of people come searching for lamps in Dungarpur. Moved by these results, the government is planning to set up a solar lamp manufacturing plant in here.
This was the journey of Dungarpur from a dark and underdeveloped to bright and independent region. The district set a milestone in innovation, effectively proving that “One lamp, One idea can change countless lives”!