Eureka: Solar panels bring sea change to villages surrounded by tributary waters

Published: September 8, 2011
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The women no longer need to wrap up the work at sun down and look for a shady tree to cool off in the scorching heat. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The women no longer need to wrap up the work at sun down and look for a shady tree to cool off in the scorching heat. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: In the remote village of Urs Mohammad Khaskheli, near the Indus Delta, a man travels to the city of Darro, 10 to 15 kilometres away to charge the villagers’ cell phones. He makes a trip every third or fourth day. For Bashir, a 23-year-old schoolteacher, this was the only way he could keep in touch with the outside world.

The village is a small island, except it is not in the sea. It is surrounded by tributaries of the Indus River, which eventually drain into the Arabian Sea. This is why much of Thatta’s rural areas are still disconnected from the national grid.

But this has changed now. The village of Urs Mohammad Khaskheli is the first in Pakistan to have all of its 65 households fitted with solar panels.

An NGO called Connect – Woman and Child Welfare Organisation, adopted the village, with five others, after the floods in 2010.

Each solar panel powers two bulbs and a cell phone charger, according to the president of Connect, Talat Yasmeen.

The other villages include Mehmud Jakhro, Mungo Jakhro, Raano Khaskheli, Aachar Solangi, Umer Jakhro and Noonari in Mirpur Bathoro tehsil, in Sujawal taluka.

In each village, said Yasmeen, there are about 250 to 300 families. So far only Khaskheli village has been equipped. Connect plans the same for the other villages as well. Apart from providing electricity, the NGO has also been been working for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of these villages. All the construction in theses villages is now complete, according to Yasmeen.

Life in the small village of Khaskheli is changing gradually. “I can now study at my own will,” said 18-year-old Bhakhtawar. “I can teach in the morning at the village school and do my own studying at night under a light bulb”. Bakhtawar has completed her Matric and intends to go to Thatta College for Intermediate studies.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • amjad
    Sep 8, 2011 - 1:55AM

    May be these NGO’s can light up one village, at a time. Always, nice to read or hear something positive. .

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  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Sep 8, 2011 - 8:37AM

    Great!! Keep up the good Work!!!

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  • Rizwan
    Sep 8, 2011 - 12:10PM

    Dear Samia

    Can you please provide me with details of Woman and Child Welfare Organisation.

    And please keep writing articles based on this theme so that people could be aware of how to help poor people.

    I believe that people in Pakistan want to help the poor and the needy but they do not know what resources or organizations are genuinely helping.

    Looking forward to hear from you soon

    Regards

    Rizwan

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  • sashayub
    Sep 8, 2011 - 3:01PM

    wow, this is amazing….finally some good is happening in a remote area….that too, because no government agencies were there to stop the NGO from doing its work peacefully….however, i am constantly surprised at the fact that while most villagers complain of lack of food, lack of basic facilities etc., yet they do have one or more cell phones in their homes

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  • Sep 8, 2011 - 10:06PM

    Dear Rizwan,

    Thank you for your kind words and interest in Connect.

    Hopefully we would be posting more details of the work that is being done under this umbrella. There is a lot more that is already being done but as always there is a lot more that still has to be done!

    You may contact us via email: [email protected]
    or visit our facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Connect/147622571939844

    Regards,

    Talat Yasmeen,
    President – Connect

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  • Parvez
    Sep 8, 2011 - 11:38PM

    Amazing good news. I had read that this solar panel exercise was taken up in Bangladesh and was so successful that a local business house put up a factory to produce these solar panels locally thereby reducing the cost and increasing the coverage.

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  • Mirza
    Sep 9, 2011 - 1:30AM

    @Talat Yasmeen: Great work, thanks a lot. Can you please post the cost of solar panels for one home? May be some of us can lit one home at a time? I am really happy and poud of you and your organization.

    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

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  • Sep 9, 2011 - 10:04AM

    Pakistan can never succeed. Thats why I left Pakistan years ago!

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  • Sep 10, 2011 - 4:25PM

    @sashayub:

    I think you have to understand that with their meagre resources, a cell phone becomes an easy and cheap way of communication, of asking about each others health and to find out if it is possible to reach a nearby doctor.To them it is like a life line. For us too, it is a means by which we keep regularly in touch with our ‘ adopted villagers’. They can contact us if there is any emergency, if someone is very sick and needs financial help or to let us know if the teacher has not come to work for two days.

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  • Hyder khan laghari
    Sep 13, 2011 - 4:46AM

    Great work by talat yasmeen, in this time energy crisis is big problem of pk, we need many talat yasmeen, this isn’t good work for some village but this is great service for Pakistan, so how we avail this great aportunity for our area? My area is largest cotton belt of sindh province, v can make it powerless, garment , nd industrial hub but due to energy crisis there r only cotton jining factories, education,health, food all sectors still r in stone age,plz guide us v can do something for our country.Recommend

  • Sep 13, 2011 - 4:50PM

    strong text
    @ Sophia: I can understand your frustration. But that is what I fight against always. Each day I and my members work towards making a difference in the lives of the people who live in utter poverty. Instead of leaving our country we should do our bit to make it a better place. It is an uphill task and the problems and obstacles are many. But we have to be positive, if we want our country to survive.
    @Mr.Mirza, it takes Rs.10,000/=for solar panels, stands, batteries, wiring and 2 bulbs. So, basically, it takes Rs.10,000/= to light up one house. No electricity bills for them after this of course!!
    @Mr. Laghari, We have installed solar panels at homes. I have no experience about using them for industries.

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