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Diwali Special: This Man Wants to Light up Bengaluru’s Streets for 200 Women Street Vendors

Aakarsh Shamanur wanted to make the working conditions of the women street vendors in Bengaluru better, so he started an initiative.

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Manjula Devi is a roadside vendor, who sits in Jayanagar, 9th block, in Bengaluru, every day. This is where she was born and brought up. Starting her day at 3 am, Manjula starts vending by 7 am. Her work goes on till 10 in the night.

Her struggle starts when it gets dark. The dysfunctional streetlights in the area make it hard for her to work. Sometimes they are turned off completely without any notice. Due to this, she loses ₹500 to ₹1,000 per day. If there’s light, her income increases.

To cope with this, she and other women vendors have to get gas lanterns from home, for which they have to spend ₹250 every week.

In case they stop working, they have to spend another ₹100 to repair them.

Manjula Devi. Source: Milaap

Aakarsh Shamanur is a trained architect with a Masters in Urban Management and Development. After he worked in The Netherlands in the renewable energy sector, he decided to do something about the situation back in India.

He wanted to make the working conditions of these women street vendors in Bengaluru better.

Aakarsh Shamanur

So, he started an initiative which would provide solar-powered lamps for women like Manjula Devi during this Diwali.

“I have been interacting with Bengaluru Jilla Beedhi Vyaapari Sanghatanegala Okkuta (Federation of Street Vendor Unions in Bangalore District) to shortlist 200 women street vendors. Together, with your support, I hope to provide them with solar lighting systems for their carts. This will ensure that they have clean and green lighting along with facilities like mobile charging. Furthermore, it will enhance productivity and bring transformation in their lives,” says Aakarsh on his crowdfunding page.

He mentions that each of these Portable Light (Po-Lite) systems have been designed by him while also taking inputs from the street vendors. “These women toil all day and night in order to bring us the freshest vegetables, flowers and many other daily essentials,” he adds. His campaign has received a considerable amount of donations already.

If you would like to contribute to his cause, then you can donate here.

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