Electrification of 800 Years Old Remote Himalayan Village

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I am happy to share that I've been selected to join the 2018 Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) where I am joining a 20-member team that will trek through high altitudes and tough terrains to bring electricity for the first time to the remote village ‘Sking’ in Ladakh, using solar micro grids.

About the village:
  • The name of the village is Sking, located in the Zanskar valley of Ladakh, Northern Himalayas
  • There are 34 Households in the village, which is home to 240 residents
  • The village is located ~550 kms from Leh at an altitude of 14000 ft
  • It is not connected to any form of road and is 4-5 trek days away from the last motorable point
  • The village is about 800 years old and has never seen electricity till date!
About the Expedition:
From 2nd – 15th July 2018, I along with a team of 20 international volunteers will set out to bring solar energy to one of the remotest villages of Ladakh and lighten up ~240 lives, that have been relying on unhealthy kerosene oil lamps for lighting and heating in winters.

Our team will trek ~150 km through the Zanskar Valley at altitudes ranging between 13,000 – 17,000 ft to reach the village and install 7-8 solar micro-grids, electrical wiring, power distribution system and household lighting. The team would also train a few villagers as entry level solar technicians who would carry forward the maintenance of the grids by using a cooperative fund that will be put together by the villagers.

This access to energy will act a stepping stone towards sustainable development of these villages by providing livelihood to the local community by setting up Solar Mountain Homestays that unveil these unexplored corners of Himalayas.

About me:
I am an operations guy working with Uber since its early days in India, setting up operations in different markets. I graduated from IIT Delhi and then pursued management at Indian School of Business.

I will be one of the engineers onboard who would be trekking all the way to village 'Sking' to survey the landscape and then design and install 7-8 solar micro grids to bring joy to these Himalayan residents.

Fund utilization:
The participant’s fee for GHE 2018 expedition is $3200 i.e. Rs. 2,10,000 per participant. This amount would be used to pay for the expedition that includes costs of solar micro grids & ancillaries, its transport & installation and internal costs of getting from Leh to Sking in 13 days.

I would be personally bearing the other $700-800 costs of travel to and from Leh and the trekking gear, which is not included in participant's fee.

Your donation will support a meaningful initiative which will have a lasting positive impact on household health, productivity, and overall wellbeing while promoting the use of environmentally-friendly solar power.
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About GHE: 
( http://www.ghe.co.in/index.html )
It is an impact venture that focuses on providing clean energy, education access and wireless connectivity to remote off-grid Himalayan villages through solar power. These villages are located at an average altitude of 12,000 ft above sea level and at a trek of 4-5 days from nearest motorable road.

It strives to end disparity across various aspects of sustenance in
a sustainable, scalable and environmentally beneficial manner, leading to holistic development of the community.

GHE Team: 
The initiative was started in 2013 by Paras Loomba and now the team consists of 10 Individuals, which has Jaideep Bansal and Gaganpreet Singh as team leaders.
Leveraging Energy Access intervention as a tool to thrust holistic development:
  • For a below poverty line (BPL) population living on less than $1.90 per day, to be able to maintain solar micro grids, it is imperative to improve their average household incomes by fostering micro-entrepreneurship. GHE help these villagers improve their livelihoods by developing their houses into ‘Solar Mountain Homestays’ ( http://mountainhomestays.com/ ) where travelers can stay and experience local Himalayan life, heritage, cuisine etc.
  • Set-up 'Himalayan Innovation Centres' with low power computers, LED monitors and satellite internet connection to impart experiential education and skill development using digital mediums, and thus make the youth ‘job ready’. ( http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/breakthrough-series/videos/delivering-computers-to-the-himalayas/ )
Impact so far:
  • Electrified 60 villages and have impacted over 20,000 lives directly till now
  • Created 25 women led Mountain Homestays in the electrified villages
  • Trained 35+ villagers as entry level Solar Grid Technicians
  • Saved approx. 63 Tonnes of Kerosene and helped mitigate 157 Tonnes of CO2 on an annual basis from these villages
Partners and Recognition:
  • Exclusive documentary by National Geographic – ‘Power to the People ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHyETkC8O7g&feature=youtu.be )
  • Featured as one of the ‘Breakthrough Technologies’ in the present world
  • Exclusive documentary by NDTV - ‘Lighting the Himalayas’ ( http://www.ndtv.com/special/lighting-the-himalayas-843556 )
  • Invited to demonstrate technological model at the prestigious Future Energy Expo 2017, Astana in Kazakhstan
Proof of acceptance to the Global Himalayan Expedition - July 2018
Proof of acceptance to the Global Himalayan Expedition - July 2018

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Beneficiary: 34 households o... info_outline