There are many villages across India which live in darkness as they do not have access to the nation’s power grid. Recently, 52 village houses in Mysore and Dakshina kannada districts came out of this darkness, thanks to a group of youngsters on a mission to bring light to villages that are off the electric grid.
The group, called Yuva, has its beginnings in a speech that its founder heard many years ago and took to his heart. Their first mission, called ‘Light Up Revolution,’ has ambitious goals. The team plans to equip 1000 poor families across Karnataka with clean solar lights. Akhil & the team has already made some progress. They have already completed surveys in Bagalkot, Dakshina Karnataka, Udupi, and Mysore, which has around 400 houses and are in the process of surveying the north Karnataka region.
Akhil K, the founder of Yuva, took upon himself to make a difference to the society, after listening to a speech given by chief guest at his school science exhibition in 10th standard. During his school days Akhil, who is currently pursuing his BE in EEE from Vidya Vikas Institute of Engineering and Technology, used to participate in Jawaharlal Nehru Science Exhibition conducted by his school, Kendriya Vidyalaya Mysore.
When he was in 10th standard a chief guest who had come to inaugurate the exhibition said in his speech “You all do projects but does that really reach the needy and help them out. You should make sure that your efforts reach the needy.”
He was so moved by this speech and decided that he should also do something for the society. Akhil was only 15 years old then. Akhil says, “Other than science project I knew nothing at that point of time. Then this idea struck my mind, most of the poor people lived on kerosene lamps in my village so why not replace those kerosene lamps with electric source of light through solar energy.”
He then decided to set out on this venture during his vacation after his 10th exams along with his friends Abhishek and Chetan.
The first hurdle was to figure out where to procure the materials from. “I contacted my uncle, who gave us four solar panels which was not in use and the other materials like batteries, CFL bulb, switches etc had to be bought,” says Akhil. He bought these materials with the money he collected from his neighbours, family and friends. Finally after all the procurement was done, they lit up two houses in Puttur taluk, their first project.
After seeing the first two houses light up, people in the village were very happy and the groups work also got attention from the local media. On returning back to school after his vacation, he received a lot of encouragement from his peers and teachers who asked him to carry on with the good work.
Akhil says “We carried out similar installations in many places in 2 years improving the technology in each installation. I realized that electricity was not the only problem.”
He soon realised that the rural areas lacked proper Infrastructure facilities and education. For example the government has announced mid-day meals to school children but they don’t have proper ways to cook. So he decided to form a group which will work for rural infrastructure development projects using the youth power which is not being channelized for good purpose, and YUVA was born.
The group has got themselves registered, opened a bank account in their name and published their website. Currently they have started a fund raising campaign “ Help Us Light, thousand lives” and are approaching colleges, schools and corporate bodies.
Soon YUVA plans to form groups in each district where they plan to implement the project ‘Light Up Revolution’, and each group will then look after the continuation of the project in their districts.