Maya Shivabhakti, a mother of two, was relieved because her children do not have to stop their studies during the power cut off that happen often in Nepal. Her family was one among hundreds of other households that benefitted from solar panels distributed by World Vision at Dharmasthali, in the outskirt of Kathmandu.
“My kids could not study during the power load shedding. Now that the winter is approaching, the power shortage is going to be more intense. This solar panel will provide light to support my children a lot”, 29-year old Maya expressed her happiness.
As she said, the people of Nepal have to bear severe power cuts, extending up to 14 hours a day during peakwinter. Solar power in indeed a better alternative for families who cannot afford other power backup sources.
“Purchasing candlescan beexpensive for families like us. We have a good substitute for candles now”, she said. Her daughter, Binisha (8)was happy to get the lamp because she can do her homework at night. “Candlelight used to be too dimmed”, she said in a low tone.
After the devastating earthquake brought down their house, Binisha’sfamily managed to construct a small house with remains collected from other ruined structures. Losing a proper roof and living under a temporary shelter certainly required many adjustments and compromises for a small girl, but the smile that decorates her lipsconcealsher sorrow.
In the places ravaged by the April 25 earthquake, people were not only lost their roofs, but were immediatelydeprived of basic necessities like electricity. Kanchi Maharjan (70) was one of such beneficiary who lives alone in a temporary shelter without electricity.
“My left eye is sightless and the right one cannot see properly during the night. I eat early in the dawn, many times just the leftovers from the morning and go to sleep to escape the darkness”, Kanchi said. She started to live alone after her daughter-in-law abused her physically and her son put on a deaf ear to the injustice.
After the earthquake destroyed her house entirely, Kanchimanaged to get a temporary roof built over her head with the help from her relatives and some kind neighbors. “I am living on food items provided by different organizations. Sometimes I even clean dishes for others to support myself”, she said.
The grieving mother then recalled how she had brought up her only son while his father passed away when he was just three. “My son and his wife don’t talk to me now. Nobody talks to me. I am alone and somehow managing to hold my breath”, she lamented.
Expressing her thankfulness for the solar light Kanchi says, “Getting up at night will be less scary now with the lamp. Due to my poor eyesight, I could not locate the candle and matchstick many times. It used to frighten me”.
Like Maya and Kanchi, World Vision has lighted up the lives of more than 18,000 households with the solar lamp, one household at a time.
Chalise is a Communications Officer at World Vision International Nepal