Rakshak Torch: Illuminating Rural Villages

The Problem

Over 10 million people in Rajasthan, India have little or no access to electricity, with 22% of these households turning to kerosene to bring light into their homes. 70% of rural India lacks access to reliable electricity, due to high costs of creating physical lighting infrastructure and providing grid connection to remote areas. Access to light increases productivity in work, children’s hours for studying, and improves safety for women, but millions still live in darkness.

 

The Solution

Frontier Markets is proving that stand-alone home solar systems and portable solar products are the solution to rural energy inequity. These products allow instant light access without the need for grid extension and extensive maintenance of it, and don’t generate expensive electricity bills for the low-income households in Rajasthan. Frontier Markets’ flagship product, the solar Rakshak torch, can be seen throughout rural villages in Rajasthan, praised by customers for its reliability, sturdiness, and cheap cost.
Product features:
• One year warranty
• Mobile charging
• High Light Mode: 10+ Hours
• Economy Light Mode: 15+ Hours
• Charges in 10-12 hours
• Lightweight, portable design in two colors

“We use it at shop, earlier we used to use lamp, now can stay longer at shop thus getting a lot of profit.”
–Pawan Kumar Neki, Rakshak owner

 

Rekha’s Story
When Frontier Markets visited her women’s self-help group to showcase their products and explain the benefits of solar energy, Rekha knew she wanted to become a Saral Jeevan Sakhi (SJS), or “Easy Life Friend.” SJS are rural women who were hand-selected to be solar saleswomen for Frontier Markets.

“From the first time I saw the campaign, I liked all items, so I thought if I do some work, I’ll be able to have some savings,” she explains.

Before her Rakshak, Rekha used kerosene, which would blacken her mud house with smoke and hurt her eyes. The solar Rakshak torch offers portable and reliable light that Rekha can bring with her to the farm, market, washroom, and shop.

 

“Everyone likes it now, so when light goes, everyone starts asking ‘Where is our rakshak?’ Even our children are able to operate it,” Rekha adds.

The reliability and one year warranty of solar energy initially attracted Rekha to Frontier Markets products, explaining that when there are electricity grid failures or storms, she can still get light. Now, Rekha educates other villagers on the benefits of solar energy, explaining how her own health, household, and life have improved with clean energy.

 

Impact on Rekha
Economic Impact
• Rekha has made a sustainable investment in solar, no longer worrying about electricity bills
• Rakshak torch is most commonly used in productivity and work-related activities like farming
• Customers save around Rs. 3000- Rs.4000 per year from switching from kerosene oil to solar

Social Impact
• Rekha uses her Rakshak torch for her own studying
• Reka no longer suffers from inhaling smoke emitted from kerosene
• Rakshak torch is cheaper than purchasing kerosene oil every month, allowing for savings

 

“In the homes, there was so much smoke. If we were sleeping with the kerosene lamp beside them, the smoke used to affect their breathing.”

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