>Thriving with LED Lights

>This weekend I had the chance to visit one of the projects that I supervised (bah! although the picture is from another project: innovative heating system in Kyrgystan) during my two and a half years at the Development Marketplace. Thrive is an NGO based out of Hyderabad, a city in the south of India. Thrive strives to provide affordable, renewable LED lights to the rural and urban poor around the world. I was able to visit their headquarters, their production rooms, and their campus outside of the main city where they are working to develop innovative solar-powered technologies such as water purifiers, solar cookers, LED light street lamps and well pumps.

I also got to visit one of the urban slums near the Thrive offices and see the light in action by comparing the owners’ previous kerosene lamp and the new LED light. The difference is pretty astounding and I’m a total convert. The statistics show that approximately two billion people worldwide have little or no access to grid electricity. We, well, I at least, take light and access to electricity for granted and it’s hard to imagine a life in complete darkness once the sun sets, huddling around one or two kerosene lamps to light our work, help us cook, allow us to move around freely.

Thrive’s light allows farmers to go out into the fields safely (watching for animals), allows women to cook in safety (without risk of fire or indoor air pollution), allows children to study later into the light, allows small rural businesses to stay open later because they have light, and allows families to engage in other revenue-generating activities later into the night. Ranga gifted me a light during his last visit to Delhi in November, I use it every night and still have not had to charge it!! See below some photos from this weekend as well as a youtube video created by Thrive about their work in the H’bad slums.

Visiting Ranga and Thrive was a refreshing look at my work in India as well and my motivations for coming to this country (although somewhat unrealistic and since tempered). I am refreshed and promise to write more about the actual work that I have been doing here. Promise. Later…


A model of the kind of kiosks that Thrive establishes in villages where people go to charge the light.
The World Bank-funded project that I worked with established these types of kiosks in rural villages in the state of Orissa, India. Villagers would use the light (anywhere from 24 to 140 hours of light depending on which of the three modes you are using), then the kiosk entrepreneur charges the lights for a minimal fee using electricity or solar power.

Previous iterations of the light
.

The newest version of the light in the energy kiosk.


Solar panels that power parts of the Thrive campus


Kerosene light in the urban slum we visited – you can barely see anything in the darkness

Light by Thrive’s LED light – sorry for the blurry quality, but you can see the difference between both of the lights!!

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~ by carolynflorey on March 24, 2009.

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