In the distant village of Sorukot, Mugu with only 250 households, getting by without consistent electricity supply is difficult. Perched a few miles off the beautiful Rara Lake, this scenic place though filling to the eyes lacks even the most basic necessities. Houses made from stone and wood and rice being more difficult to come by than a pound of meat, we struggle every day to get by. But still, more developed than our surrounding villages, we have become the unwilling hub of the area. Other villages see ours as a ‘bazaar’ (marketplace), with 60-70 small shops that sell basic necessities. Yet, we have hotels with no one to fill them and electricity that only runs in the evenings.
Even with not much to offer, we help each other get by. Villagers from more decrepit places come to our village to seek medical help, to send their kids to school and to search for employment. We have only a few small medical facilities capable of small treatments and a school that is open to pupils which sadly, is more than what the other villages possess. Most of our youth are abroad, working as migrant workers and sending allowances back to help their parents, while others toil here and there with not much to do.
With so little to our name but so much potential, we needed to do something. So, when the team from Gham Power first came by, they brought with them not only solar panels but hope. Hope for constant electricity supply. Hope for better circumstances. Hope for change. We collectively decided to install a mini-grid in our village. Throughout the entire process, we tried to help them in any way we could. Some helped transport the materials through the rough conditions (both road and weather), some helped build the powerhouse and others helped with the mounting structure. We felt part of the process, heading towards a better future, together.
Now, the entire village waits for the mini grid system to officially turn on. We’ve built big hopes and dreams that hems on it. We want to get a solar grinding mill and internet and TVs working in our village. The medical institutions plan to acquire X-ray machines and other medical equipment to improve their medical services. The small shops want to get printing machines and photocopiers that work during the day, helping those shop owners earn extra income.
Every household will get 5-6 free bulbs that will help children study and women cook. The carpenters want woodworking machines that will help in the construction and repair of houses and furniture to run more efficiently, cutting down days of manual labour to a few hours. The solar powered grinding mill will also help fulfil our food necessities by exchanging rice with cornmeal that is easier to come by in our village.
All these dreams we’ve built will succeed the installation of the solar mini grid. With solar, we have received not only electricity and light but also hope for a brighter tomorrow.
(Project supported by AEPC)
Contributed by Ujesha Vaidya