Solar streetlights now illuminate Lelibadi, India for safer streets at night.

In Lelibadi Village, India, a 60-year-old farmer named Singu lives with his wife and three grown children. The family spends their days cultivating crops such as ragi, lentils and a variety of other vegetables. The work is hard, and the family has lived in impoverished conditions along with their neighboring families in the community. Everyone in the village does their best to provide themselves with nutrition and income from their modest crop yield.

As the sun sets each evening in the village, people would all go into their homes to stay until morning. The village lacked streetlights, so the areas outside of the homes became dark and desolate. Fear of predatory animals, reptiles and insects kept people from wanting to venture out of their homes until they felt the safety of their sunlit days. And so, abandoned streets after dark became the norm.

The long workdays at home and fear of dark surroundings led to social isolation and a lack of a feeling of community among neighbors. With the help of the Outreach community-led development process, community leaders identified the issue and mobilized to find a solution.

Participatory Human Development Changes Lives

When Outreach International introduced the participatory human development process to the community, Singu became an active participant in the group of community leaders. He attended meetings where members learned to identify and prioritize the issues that led to difficulties in their lives. The issue of darkness rose to the top of the list.

After a series of meetings to map out a strategy, the group mobilized to solve the issue. A major step in this process, as with so many other projects, was to identify and contact available resource agencies. In this case, the Panchayat office was able to help. The Panchayat is a regional government agency in India that has the capacity and authority to allocate resources to the municipalities it oversees.

Singu’s community group prepared and presented a proposal to the Panchayat office asking for solar streetlights to be provided and installed in Lelibadi village. Their hard work and preparation paid off, and the Panchayat office approved the proposal.

Lelibadi Streetlights Project Success

With the introduction of the Lelibadi’s streetlights, navigating the village at night became significantly safer. Fear of being out at night vanished, and improved visibility of wide areas cut down on rates of theft significantly. And among the most significant benefits to the quality of life for the families in Lelibadi was the sense of community that was fostered when people started to be able to mingle and socialize after their busy daylight hours working around their homes.

Town meetings and social events are now taking place at night in their now well-lit, safer public spaces.

Setting Their Sights Ever Higher

While the implementation of the Lelibadi streetlights is a significant improvement in the day-to-day lives of the people of Lelibadi, they now see that even more streetlights are needed to illuminate all public areas. Singu and his community-led organization are confident that they can achieve this goal. By continuing the practice of participatory human development, taking charge of their own issues, and setting out to reach new goals, the community-led organization will bring Lelibadi into a future that is brighter than many could have ever imagined.

In Singu’s words, “the Lelibadi streetlights have transformed our lives and we are no longer slaves to darkness.” The success of this project stands as a testament to the transformative power of the community-led development process and the positive impact it can have on the lives of everyone who is provided with a chance to work to change their own lives for the better.

How to Help

You can be a part of inspirational victories like this by donating to Outreach International. Your generosity helps communities like Lelibadi help themselves, achieve their own goals, and make life better for themselves and their children for generations to come.