Solar power lighting up the lives of Nepalese children
The importance of the sun to life on earth has been recognized by people for many centuries.Now, with the innovation of solar power, the sun can actually be harnessed to help change people’s lives.
It is with that in mind that the Rotary Club of the Deepings is at the forefront of an ambitious project to use modern technology to enrich and enhance the lives of people in remote communities of Nepal, and in particular the children of those communities.
Take a moment to picture what you perceive to be a typical school. What do you see? A brightly lit building full of children with access to computers and the resources they bring to the school. After all a school without a computer would be a disgrace in this day and age wouldn’t it? But what about schools without electricity to power computers or even to provide the basic requirement of electric lighting?
It is hard to believe that in the 21st century, when so many people take for granted all the luxuries of modern life and the advantages of the huge strides made in scientific innovation there are still countless remote areas of the world without any of this, where there is no chance of getting access to the national grid.
So for such communities what alternatives are there? You need to have something that can be fairly easily installed, is easy to use, easy to maintain and above all reliable. The answer – solar power.
A small team from the Rotary Club of the Deepings - Carl Midgley, Alan Kendrick, John Slimmon and Fred Sandall - met with the founders of the Nepal Remote Villages Trust (NRVT), a small charity which is working with isolated communities in Nepal to get solar power installed into schools.
Discussions with the charity inspired the four Rotarians to make an application for a grant from the Rotary Foundation (Rotary’s own charity) to match the funds being contributed to the work of NRVT by Deepings Rotary to support the work of the charity and enable solar power to be installed at Rhupangmare School, Lower Solukhumbu.
The application was successful and Rotary Foundation provided a grant of £500 and, with the club contributing £500 from its own funds, a thousand pounds was put towards the project cost of £2,000.
Rotarian Carl said: “Education is a way out of poverty so we are delighted to be able to implement this project not only with the grant from the Rotary Foundation but in partnership with the Nepal Remote Villages Trust, a charity dedicated to helping the schools in this region.”
Getting the money together was possibly the easiest part of the project, actually getting the solar panels to the school and having them installed was a completely different matter. Roads that were impassable due to rain, or which perhaps could never really be called roads in the first place, was a significant problem. But get there they did, even though the panels had to be carried by hand for some parts of the journey!
Now installed, the solar panels will make a life changing difference to the children and the people of the village. To understand what this will do for the children just remember the difference turning a light on makes to you being able to read a book when it gets dark. You can learn so much by reading a book. And for these young Nepalese villagers such simple things as switching on a light and all the benefits of electrical power that we take for granted will open up new avenues of learning and future opportunities they may never have had.