Dharma Life and International Finance Corporation host ‘Beti Padhao, Roshni Badhao’ event in Lucknow on International Girl Child Day

October 11, 2017, Lucknow: Dharma Life Foundation, a social enterprise, and International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, hosted ‘Beti Padhao, Roshni Badhao’ event to commemorate the International Girl Child Day. The event was held at Indira Gandhi Pratisthan in Lucknow.

Hon’ble Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh Shri Yogi Aditya Nath graced the event. Hon’ble Minister of Women & Child Development and Family Welfare, Dr. Smt. Rita Bahuguna Joshi also attended the event. Mr. Shaurya Doval, Mr. Gaurav Mehta and Mr. Santosh Singh, Directors Dharma Life Foundation, Mr. Vikramjit Singh, Country Officer, IFC and Ms. Anuradha Bhavnani, Country Head, Shell Foundation were also present during the event.

Dharma Life has a network of entrepreneurs in rural India, called Dharma Life entrepreneurs, who sell products including solar lamps, modern cook stoves, sanitary napkins to increase access and improve the quality of life of people living in villages. Dharma Life is the distribution partner for IFC’s Lighting Asia/India program that increases access to quality assured solar lighting products in five states of India.

‘Beti Padhao, Roshni Badhao’ stressed Dharma Life’s and Lighting Asia/India’s commitment to providing clean sources of light through village level women entrepreneurs, and its direct impact on quality of life of rural women. The event brought 100 Dharma Life’s rural women entrepreneurs from different districts in Uttar Pradesh to Lucknow.

These women entrepreneurs have been selected and trained to become social changemakers in their villages by addressing the issues of awareness, accessibility, and affordability for social impact products such as solar lights amongst others. They are working towards a better tomorrow for themselves, their families as well as their communities. At the event, they shared their journey and struggles with the school children, inculcating in them a sense of the necessity and value of educating and empowering the girl child.

Mr. Gaurav Mehta, Director, Dharma Life Foundation said, “Statistics show that ‘distance’ and ‘lack of interest’ are two factors why children drop out of school. By introducing the children to positive role models, we have shown them that women can be successful agents of social change and take charge of their own destiny.This event has introduced the community to clean energy alternatives. Through ‘Beti Padhao, Roshni Badhao’, we hope to make a lasting social impact.”

500 students from various schools in Lucknow participated in a painting competition on the theme ‘My Female Hero.’This event also brought together various stakeholders such as community leaders, development experts, practitioners, and funding agencies that are committed to drive positive change in rural India.

‘Beti Padhao, Roshni Badhao’ was organized as a part of Dharma Life Foundation’s flagship programme Lighting Up Young Minds (LUYM) 2017, which aims to inculcate love for reading, using clean sources of quality-assured solar lights, which are better for children’s health. As per Census of India 2011, out of the 180 million rural households in the country, nearly 43 percent still use kerosene as the primary fuel for lighting. In Uttar Pradesh, 58.5% rural households still use kerosene for lighting up homes, which poses a range of health risks, most severely impacting the women and children who stay within the household.

“Electricity access significantly improves the lives of women and children, providing an opportunity to children to study longer hours and freedom to women from using polluting fuels like kerosene. We are glad to have partners such as Dharma Life that help create sustainable livelihoods ”, said Vikramjit Singh, IFC’s Senior Country Officer for India.

About Dharma Life

Dharma Life’s entrepreneurship model coupled with an end-to-end supply chain delivers socially impactful products and services at the last mile. The rural entrepreneurs who evolve to become change makers work on six major social causes – Health and Hygiene, Education, Access to Clean Energy, Livelihood and Lifestyle, Indoor Air Pollution and Nutrition. The company is presently operational in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Gujarat, with a network of over 13000 rural entrepreneurs reaching out to more than 8.5 million beneficiaries. www.dharmalifefoundation.org

About IFC and the Lighting Asia/India program

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. Lighting Asia/India is an IFC program aimed at increasing access to clean, affordable energy in rural India by promoting modern off-grid lighting products (lanterns and home systems) and solar powered DC appliances. The Program is implemented in partnership with Australia, Austria, Canada, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Norway. For more information, visit http://lightingasia.org/india/