Bihar Techie ‘Lights’ Up Homes in Rural Bihar Through Solar Way

Patna:  Forty year old, Umrawati Devi, a landless labourer in Padman Chapra,  a village hardly 100 kilometres away from Patna, the  capital city of  Bihar, is beaming with happiness talking about her  new “light” in the life. She & her two young kids are for the first time in their life  enjoying the luminous light emanating from an advanced solar lamp in her thatched hut.

Till few months ago, Devi  use to live under pitch darkness after the sun sets in. This change  in her life was brought  by 31 year old Amritanshu Bhardwaj , a software engineer, a native of the same village, who decided to do something to “light” up the lives  of  poor families who are damned to live a  life in ignominy.  Amritnashu has worked in USA in one of the well known film studio before moving back to India.

Umrawati Devi holding new light in her life.

Umrawati Devi holding solar lamp in her hut.

On his initiative of  “Light a Home”, Bhardwaj, says, “It is unfortunate that a major population still have no electricity facility in Bihar. My visit to my own village gave me a reality check on the lives of  these hapless families. After sunset,  their lives come to a standstill. The rising prices of kerosene makes it more difficult for them to use it for any other purpose than cooking. This impacts children education and safety of the family too.”

In Bihar, kerosene is the main source of lighting.  Mostly, kerosene is available in black market only, where a litre costs no less than Rs 40-45. Devi survives on less than  Rs 60 (less than a dollar) per day.

Bhardwaj dedicated a portion of his monthly salary and pooled money  from his international IT clients  who willingly supported  the noble gesture of lighting up these homes through solar lamps.  Bhardwaj says,” The first 10 solar lamps were installed in the homes of the women who have lost their husbands. ”

At present, these bulbs are being used for multiple purposes in the villages- cooking,  kids study under it,  women carry it when they  go out in night and also for community gathering.

The solar lamp  provides 6 hrs of lighting. It is rainproof , break resistant and auto shut off too which makes it is handy for use in villages. Bhardwaj says, ” We also wrote to  the multi national parent company of the advanced solar lamp, through email & facebook page to support the cause but they did not responded back,”

However, this did not deterred Bhardwaj resolve. In pilot project, Bhardwaj under his Ek foundation distributed 10 highly advanced solar lamps to selected few families. Each bulb costed  Rs 1200.

On solar energy, Bhardwaj said, ” There are abundance of solar power which can be harnessed to light many villages. I wish &  hope, government also starts promoting solar lamps  in more transparent manner to reach out to needy ones,”

According to a household amenities and assets in Bihar report released by the Census of India published in Rediff. com  in year 2012 states, that “Only 16.4 per cent of Bihar’s 1.89 crore families  or households have the luxury to light up their residences with electricity, the remaining, nearly 83.6 per cent families are forced to live without electricity.”

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A video on the initiative: :


Dare to Care for Adolescent Girls Poor Status in India

Ahmedabad :  Fourteen year old, Sejal Baria was beaming with joy to share her story of grit. Baria, a 10th standard student travelled from remotest tribal village of Gujarat to talk about adolescent girls challenges which are affecting thousands of girls like her in their communities.

Baria and her young team, part of “Dare to Care”, a  UNICEF child rights projects, were successful in  rescuing three minor girls from getting married  at an early age in last three years in her village.

DareDevil IPL team member meeting with Dare to Care girls. Credit : Unicef India

DareDevil IPL team member meeting with Dare to Care girls.
Credit : Unicef India


 Baria said, “It is common  in our part of village to get the girls married before they attain the legal age of 18 years. They get married by 13-14 years. It was not an easy task to convince parents of minor girls to call off the marriage. We took help & support from the village heads to persuade families not to marry the minor girls. We got success eventually,”

Despite the progress in expanding the access of girls to education, health and social services, millions of adolescent girls still face difficult obstacles in their lives, experiencing various forms of discrimination, exploitation and abuse on account of their age and their sex in India. According to National Sample Survey office(NSSO) 2007-2008 report,  almost  40  percent  of adolescent girls in between 14 and 17 years  in India are not attending school. Also, District Level Household & Facility Survey  of year 2007-2008 reveals that around 40 per cent  girls in India marry before the legal age of 18 years.

Baria was among 11 adolescent girls who came from different parts of Gujarat to  share their “Dare to Care” UNICEF  initiative with  popular Delhi Daredevils team of Indian Premier League(IPL). As part of the UNICEF initiative, these girls have been trained on child rights issues. Thy have have been doing exemplary work at the village level to fight against social issues like child marriage, child labour, gender disparities, etc.

DareDevil IPL team greeting Dare to Care girls. Credit: Unicef India

DareDevil IPL team greeting Dare to Care girls.
Credit: Unicef India

This was one of the rare occasion when these girls met with national and international  cricketing icons in real life. They were excited and talking with foreign cricket players despite the language barrier.  

Gopi Boghil, 17 years from rural area from Bhavnagar, said, “Child labour is most rampant in our villages. The families prefer to send their kids to work in fields than in school as it adds  to their family income.Our team of 20 volunteers meet parents and convince them that if their children education is continued, they can earn much more than what they earn today.”

“However, poverty does push many children to leave their village and go to work in farms outside their village”  added she.  Bhogil dreams of becoming an air-hostess.

Moved by the stories of the girls, Jaydev Unadkat, Daredevil IPL players, looking sombre , said. “The confidence among these girls are commendable. They are doing amazing work in empowering other girls. It was a humbling experience to listen to them.”

“As a cricketer our responsibility lies in spreading their message, making people more aware and supportive of adolescent girls situations  in the country.”

The Delhi Daredevils team has been advocating for an overall protective environment for adolescent girls through the IPL platform and various other public forums.

Ross Taylor, New Zealand cricketer and part of Daredevil IPL team still reminisces about the infamous Delhi gangrape case. Taylor said, ” The shocking Delhi incident made headlines in New Zealand newspapers,”

After her interaction with the girls, Taylor said,” The language was a barrier but  girls were confident in asking questions on cricket. It was humbling experience interacting to them on various issues they face as a girl,”

The three key messages of this initiative are investing in girls education as  it is great investment in building her and her family future,  no child marriages as it affects their education, lower economic status, less livelihood opportunities, and they have little say in their home and to encourage girls to express and participate more. 

It is time we all  dare to  care to address grave issues affecting half  of the population in the country.  

Click here to read more on – Date to Care  

Official Hastag : #DaretoCare 

( Communicate Karo was invited by  UNICEF India  to meet Dare to Care girls & Dare Devil IPL team members interaction )


Road Traffic Injury is The Number One Killer of Adolescents- WHO Report

Road Injuries  are the biggest killer of  teens globally. The road injuries top 10 causes of death among adolescents in both male & female, according to recent released report by World Health Organization (WHO). The report  titled “Health for the World’s Adolescents : A second chance in the second decade”  recently got released.

According to the report, “There were an estimated 1.3  million adolescent deaths in 2012, most of them from causes that could have been prevented or  treated. Mortality is higher in boys than in girls and in older adolescents (15–19 years) than in the younger group (10–14 years).”

Traffic injuries are man made disaster getting aggravated by poor policy & law  implementation in India.  Also, poor road designing risks the lives of people, especially, pedestrians & cyclists on the roads in India. Traffic fatalities have spiraled, however the preventive measures at government level have not been encouraging to stop this growing epidemic.

The report compares the 10–14 and 15–19 age groups, males and females, and different regions of the world. 

 The report states that  “Road injuries are among the top five causes of death in all regions, all age groups and all sexes, except among adolescent females in the African Region (although, with a mortality rate of 11 per 100,000 population, the rate of death from road injuries among adolescent females in the African Region is higher than the rates of death from this cause in any other region). 

Pic : The Hindu

Pic : The Hindu


About the report :  Health for the world’s adolescents is a dynamic, multimedia, online report  ( It describes why adolescents need  specific attention, distinct from children and adults. It presents a global overview of adolescents’ health and health-related behaviours, including the latest data  and trends, and discusses the determinants that influence their health and  behaviours. It features adolescents’ own perspectives on their health needs.