Every woman has a untold story. Every woman has a bold dream. The passion to reach their dreams is what drives their positive attitude everyday!
UNSDG 5: GENDER EQUALITY
Giving women a voice in the fight for their rights
This is where the United Nations (UN) and its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #5 come into play. It is specifically targeted toward ending discrimination against women and girls throughout the world. As the UN notes, “Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.”
If the world succeeds in achieving this goal by the 2030 target date, women would no longer experience extreme violence, such as trafficking and sexual exploitation. Harmful practices such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation would end. Women would have universal access to sexual and reproductive health information, and they would have equal rights to economic resources. And technology would promote the empowerment of women everywhere.
WINDS OF CHANGE : Empowering women one step at a time
During Summer of 2017, Orora Global, Inc visited a wonderful community in Tiruchirappalli District of Tamil Nadu run by the non-profit organization called SEVAI (Society for Education, Village Action and Improvement).
The community (mostly driven by women) is extremely hard-working, enterprising, ambitious and self-driven. Progress is being made in all aspects of women’s and girls’ lives – including inclusion into the schools and the area of economic and business empowerment. Alcoholism and related issues with child abuse, domestic violence had been a huge concern and the women had to take a leading role in empowering themselves and their children. The district of Trichy has been predominantly driven by agriculture and due to the exceeding extreme climate conditions, the rivers have run out of water and have left the villagers close to zero income.
Through the 'Winds of Change' initiative like this one, women are starting to gain the most basic rights and start exploring other industries and job opportunities that will be income generating and will help the women become self-sustainable.
1. Solar Powering Girls' Hostels
In 2017, Orora's team in India solar powered a girls' hostel in Trichy, India. Many girls' that stay at this hostel are first generation school-goers and the only way for them to continue their education is by staying on campus at the hostel. Due to irregular access to electricity, the girls at the hostel used to feel very unsafe at night and the girls' were constantly dropping out of schools out of the fear of staying on campus.
In order to retain the girls at school and at the girls' hostel, we solar powered the girls' hostel with ceiling fans, tube lights and cell-phone charging. The girls now feel much safer and happy with continuous supply of power during day and the night.
2. Renewable Energy Training Center for the women
Like several places around the world, Trichy, a very entrepreneurial community, has now become a victim to climate change. For the last 4 years, the neighboring rivers have slowly run-out of water. Agriculture was once the main source of income but with extreme drought conditions, the local families now struggling to make their ends meet. The families in Trichy have started to look for alternate sources of income and are extremely motivated to learn any new skill that can help with income generation. The cultural practices in Trichy forbid the women from leaving their villages, even to travel 3 miles away from their homes, inspite of the women being well-educated to bring in a manageable income for the family. While the men travel to neighboring towns and cities to make some money, it made perfect sense to take this problem of energy poverty and convert it into an 'entrepreneurial opportunity' for women.
3. Entrepreneurial Empowerment
The Renewable Energy Training Center was inaugurated by Mr. Andiappan Bala from Indian Institute of Technology Alumni Association on Jan 5, 2018 in the district of Trichy in southern India. About 25 women from various educational backgrounds were brought into the first cohort of the training center. The women are extremely motivated to learn and with very little assistance have so far been able to
Bring high speed internet access to the rural communities.
Identify trainers who can work and train all the women.
Map the energy demands of the 42 villages in their neighborhood, reaching 125K people with solar power.
Learn basic practical engineering skills and apply them to fix any electronic appliance (ranging from TV, cell-phones, remote control, refrigerators, etc)
Master practical engineering skills (soldering and multi-meter skills).
Fluency in written and spoken English.
Design, build, budget, market, install and service renewable technology products solutions to eradicate energy problems, products ranging from rechargeable solar lanterns, solar powered schools, computer centers, hospitals and community centers.
Setup a production center with e-waste recycling center.
Given the cultural barriers women face, the women employees prefer to work at the production center in Trichy while the male employees take care of traveling to distant locations for procuring products, installation and customer service.
Stay tuned for more details on further progress from these fearless women on our founder's fundraising instagram page.
4. Financial Inclusion
Special thanks to Indian Institute of Technology Alumni Association and Womentum for supporting 50 women financially as we empower them with tools and skills to light up their communities with renewable power. (25 women from SEVAI and 25 women from Bharathi Trust)
5. Paying Forward by empowering another community of women
Once the first cohort of woman in Trichy have been trained for producing solar products, they have graciously offered to train the second cohort of women from Bharathi Trust, a non-profit organization that works with empowering the Irula Tribals. Empowering Irula women with engineering skills can help Bharathi Trust with in house talent reaching 200K people with solar power.