Many conservative communities in Pakistan do not give priority to girls’ education, ultimately ending up to drop out of schools and early marriages. Girls, who somehow make it to schooling, confront the brunt of extreme weather conditions and poor infrastructure. Unfortunately, almost half of the schools in Pakistan are without any proper electricity system. The majority of girls (and boys) from poor families have to spend 4-5 hours a day of schooling without running fans and lights in extremely hot classes.
How are we helping girls fight climate change and continue education?
In 2017, we, a group of 5 volunteers, started raising funds, naming the initiative “Solar For Her ” to set up solar-powered schools for girls in poor communities where girls’ schools are not connected to the national grid or face hours-long power outages. A simple 500 Watt off-grid solar system costs around PKR 60,000 (USD 375) to run 3 dc fans and 6 dc bulbs, quite enough for a primary (Grade – 5) school to help girls get some relief during their studies amid a warmer classroom environment.
What we have achieved so far?
By November 2020, Solar For Her has been able to set up 8 solar-powered schools, empowering over 760 girls from eight communities to continue education with dignity. As our campaign focuses on the grave issue of climate change and its impact on girls’ education, we have not only received support from individual donors, but two reputed solar companies donated us in-kind support like solar panels, batteries, etc. to set up three solar-powered schools.
New stories emerging
In the Muzaffarabad community, Solar For Her equipped a girls’ school which had its electricity wiring in the school building for almost ten years but remained without power because it was far away from the main power supply line. After installing a 1kW off-grid AC system, the school's girls could get power after ten years of school construction.
Solar For Her equipped a private girls school with a 600W off-grid DC system in Khyber District, bordering Afghanistan. A decade-long insurgency in this region had badly affected schooling, particularly of girls. Solar-powered schools for girls in this area is a new ray of hope for girls to continue education with a new spirit. Similarly, Solar For Her recently installed another 600W off-grid DC system in a desert area of Mithi, Sindh province, which is one of the hottest regions in Pakistan, and schooling without running fans is beyond someone’s imagination.
How we set up solar-powered schools for girls
Solar For Her uses the power of social media to encourage everyone to support this cause. We identify the most vulnerable areas and schools with the help of volunteers we call them “Campaign Connectors”. Schools can either be public or private, but surely with the majority of girls’ enrollment. Our team includes solar and electronic engineers who design solar systems, following basic technical assessment with the help of our Connectors network. Connectors also help in identifying a local partner like a community organization or school management committee who enters into an agreement with Solar For Her for necessary maintenance, care, and learn how to operate the system, all aiming to ensure sustainability.
How can you support our cause?
Our initial target is to set up 30 solar-powered schools for girls across Pakistan. 'Solar for Her' maintains a website https://solarforher.com which highlights the campaign cause and how we work together to empower girls through solar technology. Everyone can securely donate an amount like USD 10 or more through our website. This is a very small amount for someone but can make a huge difference in the life of poor girls. Help us reach 30 schools and empower poor girls to find their dreams.
- Waqas Hussain
- Garvin Lee
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