Light received as a gift

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Дек 10 2018

Through the joint initiative of the environmental organization The Little Earth and the German NGO SunHelp, seventy most vulnerable families in mountain villages of Nisur, Roshorv and Barchadiv (Bartang valley, Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region of Tajikistan) will receive self-contained light sources by the end of the year.

Many villages in the upper reaches of the Bartang valley are located hundreds of kilometers away from traffic arteries. Local communities have still no access to the centralized power transmission networks, with some villages having no power at all. Families here are highly dependent on tree and shrubbery vegetation for firewood as well as dried animal dung for cooking and heating. Local residents often rely on inefficient candles and petroleum lamps for lighting which sometimes pose a hazard. However, today, solar powered technologies enable an increasing number of people to acquire affordable, environmentally sound and safe sources of lighting.

The first batch of portable solar lanterns (21 pieces) was distributed to target families in Nisur (14 households), Barchadiv (2 households) and Roshorv (5 households) in late November. The distribution of the lanterns was handled by the Little Earth staff with assistance from local activists from the NGO "Oyandasoz".

"When my family received a solar lantern I was very happy. My daughter is in grade five. Previously, she could not do her homework after dark because we had no lighting. This impediment has been overcome now. My son has a disability. We sometimes need to get up at night to take care of him. The new lantern has been of great help to me", reports Khudonazar Miskinov, a resident of Nisur village.

Another resident of Nisur, Davlathotun Kanieva, is also excited about her new acquisition. "I am a widow living on a pension. I live together with my daughters. Things are rather tight at the moment – we have no jobs and my pension allowance is hardly sufficient. We could never afford buying such a lantern. We are grateful to have received it for free. It will come in very handy in our household", she says.

The remaining lanterns are to be delivered from Dushanbe by mid-December. They will then be sent on to the Bartang valley. Not only will they become indispensable in many hillmen's houses but they will also make a difference for local communities by bringing light and dispelling the darkness.

The light-weight and portable lanterns provided under the initiative feature a LED lamp, an attachable/detachable solar panel (3.3 Watts capacity) to recharge a built-in battery, three lighting modes and a mount. The lantern can be used both as a desk lamp and as a portable flashlight (when detached from its mount). The lantern case has two USB ports to recharge cell phones and other gadgets. Once the battery is fully charged the lantern can provide lighting for up to 36 hours in its energy-saving mode (according to the manufacturer).

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