We were delighted to have visited the village Ghoramara Island through our CSR partnership with VERDE LED who have a mission to improve the quality of life of the poorest families living in the Sundarbans region of India by providing free lighting to those in darkness. These areas have no electrical coverage.
The lights are rainproof and solar powered LED which provides more than 4 hours of bright light and up to 8 hours of low light when fully charged under bright sunlight for 5-6 hours. The lights are multi switch with low, high and off settings, which hang from a hook and can be rotated to shine light in various directions. On Foundation Day, 5 families from Ghoramara Island travelled to Kolkata and received an LED light each, 95 more LED lights were distributed to 95 families on Monday by myself and members of staff.
The distribution took place in the only school that is on the island and over 100 members of the community and the elected head of the village council were present. The other 100 LED lights were distributed to other families by the local village council.
Ghoramara island is over 90km south of Kolkata in the Sundarban Delta of the Bay of Bengal. Due to climate change the size of this island is reducing, now the island is approximately 5 square kilometres.
There are approximately 1,300 families (6,000 people) now living on the island. However, the majority of the male population have migrated to Kerala and other parts of India in search of work. The island lacks many facilities and services; there is no primary healthcare centre on the island.
There is only 1 school which caters to 450 students and 2 teachers, there are only 5/6 sources of water and there is no electricity.
The community have to travel to Kakdwip, which is on the mainland, to avail of healthcare services even in the case of emergency by ferry. One challenge they face in reaching the mainland is the tide, as the boats get stuck during low tide. The school on the island is only up to class 10 with emphasis placed on the education of the boy child. Furthermore, the turnover of teachers is very high due to having to commute to the island.
Women are forced to complete the household chores in the daylight which denies them of opportunities of searching for work outside of the home, and people cannot travel around the island safely once the sun sets so that you can imagine the difference these lights are making.