Sophie Templeton has just completed her Engineering degree at Auckland University and has taken time out to spend the next four weeks volunteering in Hyderbad with 10 other young people working for an organisation called Pollinate Energy. Pollinate Energy is a social business based in Australia and India. Their mission is to improve the lives of India’s urban poor by providing them access to sustainable and affordable products that make their lives better.
Update from Sophie:
Our goal is to work with the city’s slums and introduce them to renewable energies so that they can stop depending on fossil fuels such as kerosene to meet basic needs. We will be starting up a business with some switched on locals, selling affordable solar powered products such as lights and cookers to those who are currently off the grid. These products will mean improved health, increased productivity, money savings, overall better quality of life and of course, positive impacts on the environment.
The best part is, it doesn’t all end when we leave after the four weeks. The locals will continue to run and grow the business, making it a long term sustainable solution.
A bit about what I’m doing… My team’s job is to help train the Pollinators (a Pollinator is a salesman employed by Pollinate to sell the solar lights to the slum communities. They are generally educated but from a lower class background.)
I spent a couple days exploring the city before I started here and didn’t see a single slum, so I was shocked to find out that 600 communities have been identified in Hyderabad alone! Even the local people couldn’t believe it. Many of them are in rich areas but they are hidden from street view. The women often work as maids in local hotels and the men as construction workers. I was pretty nervous before visiting the first community but it’s humbling to see how happy the people are with what little they have.
The solar lights seem such a little thing but they can make a huge difference to the lives of families living in crowded slums.
Harrisons Energy Solutions are pleased to help sponsor Sophie in her volunteer work India aimed at reducing ‘energy poverty’ with solar solutions. For more information about Pollinate see pollinateenergy.org