Lighting the lives of orphans in Mumbai

Thu, 12/11/2015

Solar power lights up the lives of orphaned girls, helps keep them safe and provides extra hours of study time to help them grow in confidence and independence. With thanks to The Marr-Munning Trust, Shambala, and Sunlit Future.

Padma is an amazing woman. Once a lawyer, she gave up her profession to rescue girls either in, or destined for the sex trade, in and around Mumbai. She started by bringing the girls home, sometimes housing more than 30 girls in her small one bedroom flat!

Recognising the need for a safe space, Padma realised she needed something more appropriate than her flat. She set about fundraising by going from door to door collecting just a few rupees at a time and eventually raised enough to buy a piece of land on which to build an orphanage.

Not daunted by how long this was taking, Padma continued to try and raise the funds to build the orphanage. One day a local builder drove past and asked her what she intended to do with the land. After explaining, the builder was so moved by Padma’s own generous spirit and the noble work that she was doing, that he offered to build the orphanage for her at his own expense.

The orphanage was ready for the girls to move into, but unfortunately when Padma would go to the slum to teach, sexual predators would climb the fence and target the girls. The lack of lighting from regular power cuts increased the risk of the events.

Inspired by Padma and disturbed by these threats to the young girls, The Converging World team worked to facilitate the installation of the solar PV system that would provide lighting along the corridors and in the bedrooms and safety lighting in the grounds.

In addition to the safer space, the lighting is available into the evening providing valuable time for study and vocational training.

Developing an education and learning new skills helps the young women grow in confidence in the hope that one day they will become more independent and integrate successfully back into society.

 “Stability of the electricity supply will allow the girls to study and be productive in the evenings, and feel safe and secure with lights on at night.” – Padma Palit

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