“I reside in a village near the coastal belt of the Bay of Bengal with my family of 16."
I am very worried about the increasing climate change that is disastrous for our community. Coming from a family of farmers, our basic livelihoods depend upon agriculture. Due to the climate change, we have lost most of our crops and are burdened by agricultural debt.
The problems didn't end there. My eldest son was crossing the river to sell vegetables, and he was attacked by a saltwater crocodile. My other son migrated to a nearby city for daily labour, earning very little just to stay alive in the expensive city.
I bear the whole responsibility for caring for my household. I have to look after my wife, daughter-in-law and nephews. With limited access to fresh water, the salt water destroyed my crops and left me with no hope to live.
Every day was stressful. After a while, my younger son returned home! We were all very happy to see him. He was accompanied by some gentlemen with strange objects. Nobody has ever visited us with gifts before, so I was very excited yet curious. What kinds of gifts were these?
My family all went inside to spend time together. Soon after, I went outside to look for the gentlemen. To my surprise, they were putting something on my agricultural land. Seeing this, I immediately rushed towards them, shouting for them to stop. This is my only piece of land, supporting the empty stomachs of my entire family. I was worried they would be the debt recovery team here to seize my land. They didn't listen to me, and they continued working. I was getting very angry and just when I was about to take action, one of the gentlemen came to calm me down. He explained, "Now you will receive continuous freshwater for your agricultural land, as well as lights in your home. You don't have to worry about the dark anymore."
For a moment, everything was silent. I didn't know how to react to this situation, and in confusion, I asked them to stop again and leave my land. To my surprise, all of them had a light smile on their face. They turned on a pump, which was connected to a strange-looking plate structure. Immediately, it pulled out water connected to a nearby deep well. Through a pipe, water was released towards my field. Now, it was clear what these young gentlemen were doing. There were no words to express my happiness.
My nephews came running, shouting "Grandpa, we have electricity in our house!" They held me with happiness. In disbelief, I rushed towards my house and found some bulbs hanging on the roof. My eyes were full of tears. The gentlemen probably understood we were curious and invited all of my family members to gather around. They showed us the plate, which was a solar panel, the energy source powering the pump to pull water for my agricultural field and provide electricity inside our house. By rotating the panel with the help of the SunSaluter, the panels are able to provide an additional 4 hours of backup energy.
In the past, I've only ever seen electric bulbs in the local government block office. I could have never dreamed that we would have bulbs in our house in my lifetime. I am really happy that the government has collaborated with an international agency, SunSaluter, on this initiative for the betterment of farmers. I am now slowly recovering from my debts. My nephews are able to study in the evenings because of the electricity. We are able to eat healthier, avoiding getting poisonous insects in our food from cooking in the dark. We have stopped using kerosene lamps, which were very unhygienic.
I am once again very thankful to the gentlemen with the solar plates from SunSaluter. I am so inspired to share this story with my friends and during Gram Panchayat (town hall) meetings. Some of my other community members are also setting up units with the help of these gentlemen. We have named them "Solarmen".
I will keep sharing my excitement and passion for the SunSaluter Solarmen with more of my community!
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