In ‘War against Darkness’, 500 Tharis Get Free Solar Lamps

Karachi:  It was a go-ahead for the residents of far-off villages who are still living without electricity in Thar Desert. Schools for children, health centers for the ailing, safe water for drinking and sanitation are almost elusive dreams of the neglected people in the area.
Residing in makeshift abodes, they have been vulnerable to the effects of weather changes. The communities being ignored make endeavors to make dreams come true.
The Integrated Rural Awareness and Development Organization (IRADO), in collaboration with the UNDP Green Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program, has distributed 500 solar lanterns among families from three marginalized villages in Nagar Parkar, which include Bhako Village, Kharoro Village and Vekasar Village. Shaan Technologies had donated the lanterns for the selected areas.
The objective is to help the marginalized people living in isolated villages. Pervaiz Lodhi (CEO of Torrance-based LedTronics), an industrialist-turned-philanthropist said that he wants to help those who do not have access to the facilities.
“I want to help the people where obviously the government officials have failed to reach.” He has named the project ‘Pehli Kiran’, dedicating it to his daughter, under which the philanthropist travels personally to see the plight of the people and present the gift of solar lights to them.
This will support the families to get light, especially the schoolchildren, who could devote more time to their studies. In Thar, people have a different way of life as they live in makeshift homes at sand dunes without electricity. They use fuel wood for cooking and kerosene oil for lighting lamps.
According to the selection policy, Abbas Khoso, IRADO Executive Director, said that lanterns have been given to marginalized families with women and children.
Psychologically, women are keen to take care of their belongings. This exercise brings high level of ownership and responsibility. They could save spending by charging it through sunlight.
UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme National Coordinator Masood Lohar said that it is a war against darkness.
“We want to travel to those living in far-off areas without these facilities. People from low-income areas are our target beneficiaries of this initiative to save their money.”
He appreciated the efforts made by the philanthropist for his keen interest in traveling long distances to reach the less privileged people and to bring change in their way of life.
Usually, life in such remote villages starts at sunrise and ends at sunset. Children cannot study because they do not have light.
Since the residents live in darkness, sometimes they fall prey to snake bites. This solar light would also protect them from such threats.
IRADO is already implementing the project of ‘rainwater harvesting’ to maximize the domestic use of natural water in Nagar Parkar.
The organisation has built two small dams, five open rainwater harvesting ponds, and is utilizing local know-how by ensuring community participation.
In the Tharparkar district, which is an arid zone, people depend on rains for cultivation and obtaining drinking water.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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