Shortly after lunch, at 3 pm, I left Mahashakti Foundation’s office in Muniguda to meet this enterprising woman- Jyochna Patra. She runs a grocery shop in the veranda of her house. Her husband too runs one, close by. She is one of the borrowers who purchased a solar lantern with the energy loan provided by Milaap and yes, by a good number of generous lenders. She purchased the solar light around a year ago and since then, she has been using it during blackouts. She would put the solar light at the door between the veranda and the living room of her house. The quality of lighting is superior enough to provide light to both the veranda and the living room.
Prior to purchasing it, the family would rely on inverter light. These lights cost Rs. 2000 each and would last for barely 6 months. In addition, the lights would entail high maintenance or repair costs and would also increase the monthly electricity bill by Rs. 100 or Rs. 150. In contrast, the solar light, besides not contributing to the electricity bills, hardly had any defect over the last one year of its use. And the solar light is also very compact that it came handy when there was a blackout during a wedding in her neighbourhood. The grocery business is the only means by which Jyochna and her husband earn bread for their family. So, Jyochna runs the grocery shop as long as possible every day and very often till 10 in the night. With summer round the corner, the blackouts are set to be more erratic. However, she is hopeful of managing her grocery business and earning a stable income with the help of the solar light.
Jyochna Patra with the Solar Lantern at her grocery shop.