Food or Electricity?

By Maria Kyriacou

Food or Electricity?
This 20-year-old’s bright idea allows 5,300 poor Indian families to have both.

American college student Mansi Prakash was visiting her grandparents in India, when she noticed that many families were having to make a choice between eating three meals a day or lighting their homes.

Even though most households had light bulbs, they wouldn’t turn them on, citing the high electricity costs as the reason.

The young economics major had a light-bulb moment. She decided to buy energy efficient bulbs immediately, with her own money to help ten families.

Prakash at work
Prakash at work

Now Prakash provides light to thousands, with her simple, effective solution of providing eco-friendly light bulbs to small Indian villages.

By using an 11-watt compact fluorescent bulb that lasts 3-4 years and only costs $2, residents are able to save 80% on their energy bills.

The benefits to the village families have been tremendous, allowing them to use the extra money towards food, health care and education. It also allows people more time to achieve their daily tasks and homework.

Not content with her bright idea, Prakash is now looking at instigating  a new solar project called Light for Life. This idea will see homes without access to electricity be lit up, by another innovative device that brings in daylight using a plastic bottle, bleach and water.


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