Lalita, living in a remote village in Gujarat plagued by an intermittent supply of electricity, has always suffered greatly in dealing with the challenges of everyday life. As she recalls, “We had no lights at home and so in the evenings it would become very dark for the children to study. I would find it near impossible to even cook food.” 

The problems were just too many. “Going out after dark was dangerous. Our village has no streetlights and there was always the possibility of being bitten by snakes or attacked by wild animals. We had one kerosene lamp that we used sparingly, because kerosene is so expensive. We would spend nearly Rs.150/- every month. Over and above that, the kerosene lamp would give off noxious fumes,” she laments.

The problems were not just social, but it was impacting their health too. “Our entire family used to suffer from that – constant headaches, irritation in the eyes and sore throats. We were also living in constant fear of accidents. There had been a couple of incidents of people mishandling the lamp in the dark, spilling the kerosene and setting off a fire,” Lalita says.

And then, there was some light in her life. As part of Project Jyoti, the Mahila Sewa Trust (MST) of the Self Employed Women’s Associated (SEWA), in partnership with ‘Anandana,’ The Coca-Cola India Foundation and The Coca-Cola Foundation (Atlanta) found Lalita’s village to implement their solar power and solar lantern project. Coca-Cola India Foundation and MST worked together relentlessly to provide sustainable energy access in the small and remotest villages of Gujarat and empower women through the use of solar lanterns. Not just did the project garner a total fuel savings of around Rs. 70 lacs / month for the villagers, it also ensured that solar lanterns became a harbinger for economic prosperity of the villagers including acting as a catalyst for education of children. 

Today, this project in Lalita’s village of Gujarat has not just bright solar lamps, it has added wings to the villagers’ future. Coca-Cola India Foundation is doing similar work in many villages of India that is impacting thousands of lives around the country.