Today, in The Guardian’s Poverty Matters Blog, we’ve found this great story about how an Indian College has trained 12 Sierra Leonean women to become solar engineers. It’s all part of a drive to bring electricity to rural communities.
“A group of 12 women from villages in Sierra Leone is in the frontline of a battle to bring solar-powered electricity to rural communities. No small feat, given that rural Sierra Leone is not connected to power.
The women were all trained at Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan, in western India. They are now back in Sierra Leone assembling 1,500 household solar units at a new Barefoot College in Konta Line village, Port Loko district, which is to be formally opened next month. They sit at long wooden tables fitting tiny coloured resisters to circuit boards – heads tilted, deep in concentration, as smoke puffs up from their soldering irons.
The women are all either illiterate or semi-literate – they used to be subsistence farmers, living day-to-day like millions in Sierra Leone. But now they are proud graduates, having travelled 6,000 miles to India to learn – in the women’s words – “how to make light from the sun”.
“The idea of solar was so surprising that I had to be a part of it,” says Mary Dawo from Romakeneh village.”