How Sabzali managed to illuminate his village

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Март 13 2018

Personal stories of common people are all too often hard to discern behind the dry figures and data on accomplished activities reported by different projects. This is why today we are not going to recount how much fuel we saved and CO2 emissions prevented but will tell you how our work changes people's lives.

Meet Sabzali Javlonov, a twenty-five-year-old man born in a large family living in a remote mountain village of Nisur. Located at 2,500 meters above the sea level in the upper reaches of the Bartang valley (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region) the village has no access to the centralized power supply. Mobile telephones have been introduced here only recently and still operate rather erratically.

Starting from mid-2000s, schools in several villages of the Bartang valley got involved in the International School Project for Application of Resources and Energy (SPARE). The Little Earth with assistance from the local NGO "Oyandasoz" would visit those schools to deliver lessons, organize exhibitions, contests and other events highlighting issues of energy saving, climate change and promotion of renewable energy. Sabzali's class also happened to participate in the SPARE project at that time.

Back in 2009, Sabzali, a student of grade 9 at secondary school #31 in Nisur won second prize at the International SPARE contest. His project submitted to the contest represented an operating model of a pontoon mini-HPP with a description how the device could be used in his village settings.

The participation in the educational energy saving project and success in the contest had inspired young Sabzali to continue his education and become an engineer. Upon completion of the secondary school he was admitted to the faculty of hydraulic engineering of Khorog State University. Several years later, having received a university degree, Sabzali came back to his home village. He now had the required knowledge and skills to achieve his childhood dream about bringing illumination to rural houses.

First, he constructed a 2KWt mini-HPP in Nisur. Sabzali had to obtain the required materials all by himself. For example, the generator was salvaged from an old broken down windmill. The flywheel was borrowed from an old rusty car and piping was supplied by neighbors. Some parts Sabzali had to craft together manually. At the beginning, his contrivance could provide lighting to seven households only.

Later on, using locally improvised materials Sabzali constructed another mini-HPP with the capacity of 1 KWt. His fellow villagers gladly help Sabzali in his endeavors aimed at supplying power to the village. Jointly they procured one more 2KWt generator. In spring, when water level in the river rises, Sabzali is planning to replace the generator installing a more powerful one. The village will thus have two operational mini-HPPs.

Almost all households in Nisur have now access to a limited power supply. It is sufficient to light a couple of energy efficient lamps, charge a mobile phone and even power a DVD-player. The villagers are now raising money to buy a more powerful generator. According to Sabzali, it is possible to construct a third power unit which could generate more electricity but only during the high-water period.

However, Sabzali's good deeds did not stop at that. Together with his friends and neighbors he planted about 100 fruit trees. He is planning to plant at least as many trees this year. Some of the poplars that Sabzali had planted by the foot of a nearby mountain a few years ago stopped a small avalanche that would have damaged several households last year.

"I am grateful to the Little Earth. Its activities in our valley have helped me to find my true vocation. I hope to become a good engineer, find a decent job and work for the benefit of my people" - says Sabzali.

All the villagers know Sabzali to be a hard-working and goal-oriented young man. "Once he sets himself a goal he will follow through with it" - his friends say. Older people also talk warmly about him. People of Nisur can rightfully take pride in such young people. Let us wish him every success in all his endeavors.

Anton Timoshenko, Natalya Idrisova, Timur Idrisov
Environmental Organization 'The Little Earth'