Solar LED Lanterns Bring Socio-Economic Opportunity to Pakistani Villagers

On October 19, 2011 in the district of Sindh in Pakistan, Pervaiz Lodhie —President & Founder of LEDtronics, Inc and Shaan Technologies — and Masood Lohar — the National Coordinator for United Nations Development Program (UNDP-Pakistan), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Small Grants Program (SGP) — held an event at the Union Council of Bhugra Memon, district of Badin in the village of Ramzan Dal.

The purpose of the event was to distribute 600 Solar LED Lanterns to the region’s population, 500 of which were provided and presented at no cost by Mr. Lodhie, as well as an additional 100 by the South Asian Society of America (SASA).

Over 800 villagers from surrounding district villages as far as 10 miles away gathered in the village at a United Nations (UN) built emergency structure. It was built as a safe haven (high raised concrete structure) of protection for the villagers during natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes.

The region has been hit hard over the past years with both earthquakes and frequent flooding, resulting in loss of lives, homes, possessions and livestock. These natural disasters have diminished the villagers’ opportunities to provide income for their families to obtain such essential things as food, medical services, etc.

The purpose of the distribution of the Solar LED Lanterns was to provide a lighting source that was “green” and inexpensive, so that the villagers could utilize them to increase their socio-economic opportunities. The result is Pakistanis assisting Pakistanis — an important element of building a true and successful democracy.

The Solar LED Lanterns are produced in Pakistan by Shaan Technologies, an affiliate of LEDtronics, Inc. — a leading North American LED designing and manufacturing company.

Ayaz Mahmud, Vice President of Operations for Shaan Technologies, stated, “It is with much pride that myself and our Shaan Technologies employees can contribute a light of hope and opportunity to these villagers and fellow Pakistanis with our Solar LED Lanterns.”

The villagers had utilized, in most cases, a very dangerous, toxic and carbon foot print contributing lighting source — the kerosene lamp. These lamps are very harmful to people, increasing respiratory ailments for both adults and children. There is also the threat of fire with kerosene lamps. Especially in a region that utilizes dry wood and straw for home construction. There is also the very high cost of using a fuel such as kerosene, which negatively impacts the villagers’ income.

Mr. Lodhie has been providing such Solar LED Lanterns to rural villagers of Pakistan for many years, and he has witnessed the many benefits that resulted from the use of the lanterns. The benefits include things such as children being able to read and do homework after dark and women having light to prepare meals and use their skills to produce beautiful handicraft like shawls (ajrak), blankets, etc. The men of these families can utilize these lanterns in their work around the home, and when working in the field.

It is important to understand that the positive impact or influence of these lanterns extends beyond the primary village family given the lantern, because the Pakistan social fabric is one that is based on a tight family and community involvement,” stated Mr. Lodhie. “In many cases, relatives live either with other family members in the same home structure, or they live next to their respective homes. Therefore, one family receiving the gift of a lantern will directly impact many families that surround and interact with that family. These 600 lanterns will possibly impact as many as nine to ten thousand individuals.”

The efforts of Mr. Lodhie and the employees of his companies Shaan Technologies and LEDtronics in providing these Solar LED Lanterns was done with the cooperation and most important assistance of the UNDP-GEF. They both certainly bring an increased opportunity for a village and its villagers – either a man, woman or child — to achieve an improved and successful life.

Mr. Lohar of the UNDP was appreciative of the efforts of Mr. Lodhie. “The contributions of Mr. Lodhie are appreciated by me, the UN, and especially the people of District Badin,” Mr. Lohar said. “Also his interest and that of Ejaz R. Chaudhri, Chief Operating Officer of Aitemaad Pakistan Trust in our efforts to construct especially designed housing, which are both ‘green’ friendly and built to withstand the many natural disasters that occur in the region was pleasantly received.”

Mr. Lodhie added, “This event, I believe, has created a beginning of Pakistani interests working together to create a better life for the people of Pakistan, who are not blessed with wealth, but are the potential foundation for a strong and dynamic Pakistan.”

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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