This simple “bulb” is made out of discarded plastic bottles and lights up a dark house in an amazing away. Here is all you need to know about the innovative Liter of Light initiative and how it works.
“My daughter feels safer, my son spends more time at home and we feel more connected as a family,” says a lady who just got some light in her house. Isn’t it surprising how much difference a small PET bottle can make in someone’s life?
After drinking bottled water, we often tend to throw the bottle away. Well, did you know that this “trash” can be used to light up a house?
All thanks to an amazing initiative, Liter of Light, which transformed these PET bottles into lamps, many families who were still struggling to get something as basic as light in their house now have a reason to rejoice. Kickstarted by Illac Diaz in 2011, thousands of families have already seen their dark homes being lit up so far all around the world.
After the successful stint of the Liter of Light global initiative, Tripti Aggarwal started its India chapter based out of Bangalore in November, 2013.
“Though I was socially inclined, I had no plans of starting something of my own like this. Especially when I am doing a full time job. But something made me take this up and when I see the happiness in the eyes of people, it is all worth it,” says Aggarwal.
So how does a PET bottle light up a house? Well, the procedure is simple, a small hole is cut in the roof of a house and a transparent, plastic bottle with clear water is fitted in. During the day, as the sunlight reaches the water bottle, the light is refracted and spreads in the entire room.
“The idea is very simple. Currently my team and I make these models but we are training the community, schools and children to make it themselves and become totally self-dependent,” says Aggarwal.
Here is a video that explains more about the work-
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“The USP of these ‘bulbs’ is that they are low cost, made from waste and locally sourced material and can be easily made and maintained by the community,” she says. The idea is best suited for small, narrow slums and narrow alleys.
Also, once the community is trained, a few people can take up the responsibility of minimum maintenance which will provide them a small source of livelihood at the same time.
Liter of Light have already installed and have plans to further install these eco-friendly “bulbs”, both day light and night light, in various tribal villages, urban slums and schools across India.
Liter of Light’s enthusiastic team of 20 committed volunteers have already engaged 35 families through their day-light bottles and 5 through night-lights. “It is the impact in the lives of people that matters. We don’t believe in counting the numbers, we just want to reach out to more people,” says Aggarwal.
Though the approach is simple and easily implementable, but gaining people’s trust is a constant challenge the team has to face. “Of course, who would let some strangers come into their homes and cut a hole in the roof? People are reluctant at first,” says Aggarwal.
To solve the issue, Liter of Light follow an approach where they reach out to already existing NGOs which the people trust, and then talk about the impact and benefits of the “bulb”. Gradually, as the trust builds up, people open up to the unique idea.
“Also identifying the need areas is a big task. A lot of research and development happens before we actually start our work on the ground,” Aggarwal says.
As Pankaj Dixit, who is co-founder of the Bangalore chapter, and Aggarwal both have full time work engagements, it becomes difficult to manage everything.
“We really wish we could engage ourselves full time in it. But the lack of financial support and a business model where we are totally dependent on sponsors is something which makes it difficult,” she says.
2015 being the international year of light, the Liter of Light team now wants to spread more awareness and reach out to college and school students to come up with various innovations in the field.
“We want to enable communities and students to be able to replicate the project on their own. We also want to reach out to more remote locations where there is greater need of this,” says Aggarwal.
If you want to help Liter of Light to reach out to more homes in need of this, you can do so by becoming a volunteer, help them with R&D or help them scale up by providing funds for their new projects.
Currently, you can also contribute to their fundraising campaign to bring light and life to two tribal villages which are in extreme poverty and darkness.
To know more about their work, mail them at – email@example.com or check out their website.