a girl with an electric light
Energy Minister in the burning sun

The sun is scorching down from a cloudless sky throughout Global Vote day in the desert. “It’s always this sunny and warm!”
says 14-year-old Pinki, who is the Energy Minister in the Children’s Parliament.

“Of course it’s a problem that it never rains and is always this hot, but we have actually learned to use the sun to our advantage Barefoot College realised that Rajasthan is the perfect place for solar power! Lighting, computers... yes, everything at Barefoot College is now powered by the sun. We used to use paraffi n lamps and candles at the evening schools, but now every school has a lamp that charges up during the day using solar power. It’s great! Now we can manage without oil, paraffin, matches, candles, batteries and electricity, all of which cost lots of money in the long run. Solar power is also much cleaner than sooty paraffi n lamps, and safer than both candles and electricity. Candles are easily blown out by the wind, and that is a problem since the evening schools are often held outdoors. None of our schools have electricity, but even if they did, it would be very unreliable since there are powercuts all the time. What’s more, solar power is much more environmentally friendly than the other options, and the solar-powered lamp gives much better light. And that’s especially good bearing in mind that the children at the evening schools have to learn important things after nightfall. The lamps are perfect then!
“As Energy Minister, it’s my task to visit different schools every month and check that the solar-powered lamps are working. If a lamp is broken the school gets a new one, and I take the broken one to be repaired by the Barefoot College technicians. The technicians are often girls who have attended evening school and then trained as solar power technicians. I’d like to do that in the future too!”


 
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