25 August 2017
By Bryan Smyth
A new partnership between Irish Charity, The Hope Foundation (HOPE) and VERDE LED, a leading Cork manufacturer of commercial energy saving LED lighting solutions, aims to improve the quality of life of the poorest families living in North and South Kashibad in the Sundarbans region of India by providing free lighting to those in darkness.
The Indian government recently began a rural electrification programme, however this has not been extended to this region because of the cost of installation and maintenance, and as a result these areas, where 44% of people are living under the international poverty line, have no electrical coverage. This means that school going children are unable to study in the evening without light, and fall behind in their education. Women are forced to complete all domestic chores within the day time when there is light, and therefore are unable to leave the home to find work.
Families using kerosene lamps are also facing health risks generated by the CO and CO2 emissions of these lamps for a sustained time in cramped living conditions. And there is little safety or security for children and women after the sunset with no lighting in streets.
Through the new partnership with HOPE, VERDE LED has initially supplied free solar lights to 200 of the poorest families in these villages, and the aim is to roll this initiative out further over the coming months. This project will provide a source of light for students, families and communities to study, travel and gather at night time, and will also address the health concerns caused by the use of kerosene lanterns in areas with no or low access to electricity.
Maureen Forrest, Founder and Honorary Director of The Hope Foundation said “HOPE is dedicated to helping the most underprivileged people in India, to promote immediate and lasting change in their lives. It is through partnerships like this one with VERDE LED, that we are able to facilitate this change and help create brighter futures for families like those in the Sundarbans. The solar lights will allow families to carry out activities after sun down that they would not have been able to do before, and for that we extend sincere gratitude to VERDE LED.”
Commenting on the partnership, John Keohane, CEO of VERDE LED said “Abundant light is something may be taken for granted here in Ireland, but at VERDE LED we believe that everyone should have access to light no matter where they are in the world. We hope, that through this partnership with HOPE, that the poorest families can prosper without having to wait for a grid system in their region. These little solar lamps are safe, clean and simple to use, and they give off hours of light in the evening so families can learn and feel safe after dark. Just one lamp may transform the fortunes of an entire family, and we are proud to support this.”
Founded in 2010, VERDE LED is now an established force within the LED industry both in Ireland and abroad, and is one of the leading commercial LED Lighting manufacturers and suppliers in Europe. The company offers a wide range of lighting solutions using premium LED chip technology primarily for commercial purposes. Recent clients include Topaz, Abbvie, Honeywell, Intel, Delphi Automotive, Maynooth University, and the HSE. For further information on VERDE LED visit www.verdeled.com.
The Hope Foundation works with implementation partners and employs over 500 local Indian staff in over 60 projects in Kolkata and further afield in India, in line with 5 broad programme areas which include Protection; Education; Healthcare and Nutrition; Lifeskills and Vocational Training; and Capacity Building. For further information on these projects visit www.hopefoundation.ie.