The stories about Nasrani Khan and Poonam, two women from Uttar Pradesh certainly deserve attention in the wake of consecutive tragic events that spurred social media discussions on women empowerment. Thanks to the ‘Prerna Ojas Program’, a government scheme for women empowerment under the State Rural Livelihood Mission (Rural Development Department), plenty of women now earn their livelihood independently.
Nasrani Khan who is 24 years old is the seventh of eight children and had faced poverty during her childhood. Even at this young age, this sociology postgraduate became a successful woman entrepreneur. She runs a shop that sells and repairs solar lights and earns a monthly income of Rs 15,000. Nasrani gives credit to the ‘Prerna Ojas Program’ for giving a better life. She is proud of her achievement that brought her a chance of meeting up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Poonam, a mother of two is a sociology postgraduate whose life is also changed by ‘Prerna Ojas Program’. She was trained to make solar lamps for school children. Her journey from being laughed at for having higher education to being looked upon as the breadwinner of the family is really motivating to all women who want to be financially independent. Poonam too runs a shop that sells and repairs solar lights.
‘Prerna Ojas Program’ is an organization of joint action for ecological sustainability with a twin objective of giving clean energy to school-going children in the remote areas of Uttar Pradesh while generating income for self-help groups for women. This is managed by Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission and supported financially and technologically by the Ministry Of New And Renewable Energy, IIT (BOMBAY), and Energy Efficiency Services Ltd.
The IAS officer Yogesh Kumar, the Mission Director of UP State Rural Livelihoods Mission, said that this initiative has helped self groups to make 28 lakh solar study lamps which were distributed among students in government schools in rural areas. This initiative has helped children to pursue their studies while offering empowerment to women in Sonebhadra district. Both Nazrani and Poonam, are among the 4,000 skilled women and young girls who made and supplied solar lamps to school children in Uttar Pradesh. Some women have started shops where they sell and repair products like solar lanterns, solar flashlights, solar lamps, solar fans, solar torch, solar panels, solar power banks, and LED bulbs.
Solar lights not just save electricity, it gives livelihood too. Isn’t it? Solar energy never depletes and if you have not started investing in solar lights, now is the time. Start using solar lights and motivate others to do the same. Save electricity, save money.