Solar-powered lanterns have made a difference for the lives of 30 Bengali village ladies; particularly their group leader, Najira Sheak. For the past 13 years, Najira has been toiling away in embroidering jori designs (a Bengali heritage) on countless saris. Her brother, a bus driver, has been financially and emotionally looking after her ever since she recently divorced her husband.
Thankfully, her jori embroidering profession has substantially supplemented her income. It has enabled her to pay for her daughter’s (her only child) school fees. Yet, this has been not without its hurdles, especially in terms of lighting. Not so long ago, she used to utilise a kerosene lamp at night in her home when daily power cuts occurred. She would pursue her jori work and cooking during this time. During the same time, her daughter would study under the same lamp. Although the kerosene lamp helped light up their home during their respective activities, it was often unusable. Kerosene oil was frequently in scarce supply; rendering her home a place of darkness on many nights. Nadira was unable to pursue her cooking and work. Yet even when she possessed enough oil to light up her kerosene lamp, its harmful fumes deteriorated her and her daughter’s health. Both of them were inflicted with neck burns and eyesores.
Najira, realising that her life and that of her daughter’s would be ruined by their kerosene lamp, decided to team up with 29 of her women neighbours, to pool in their financial resources to borrow a Milaap-financed loan for solar-powered lanterns. Ever since she started using her solar-powered lanterns, she can light up her home every evening and night, irrespective of power cuts and kerosene oil shortages. She can now work at least 8 hours a stretch on her jori endeavours and cooking. She now is now able to produce and sell more saris, consequently augmenting her income. On the other hand, her daughter can study at any length of time during any night, without enduring any “lightless nights”. More so, they feel far more healthy thanks to their health hazardous-free solar-powered lantern
"I'm so grateful for this lantern. It has solved my problems!"- Najira