Bringing Lights Back To Pongging

Posted on 30 May, 2016 by Team Wishberry

Ponging Lawma & Visco have been on a mission to bring light to the little hill villages in the North East of India.  Pongging located in Arunachal Pradesh was one of their first few projects. Lights In Pongging got successfully crowdfunded in July 2014! Feli Visco, the engineer for this project, throws light on everything that they’ve achieved with regards to the project, and shares what her team is working on now. See their campaign page HERE!

Update us on everything that has happened since the crowdfunding success.

Our Pico turbine installation has now been providing electricity to 50 households, 1 small shop, 1 community hall (Aanganwadi), and a church. The machine has been running for above a year without any issues. The project site has been visited by the District Commissioner of the area, MLA’s and Zilla Parishad members from adjoining districts as well. We were featured on the NDTV Energy Sessions as the first crowdfunded energy access program in India and have been written about in International journals as well.

Due to the remoteness of Pongging, the project must have been an extremely challenging one. What were the problems the team faced during its installation process?

Carrying the turbine and equipment was extremely difficult because of the inaccessibility of the place. The turbine weighs about 80 kg and it needs at least 4 men carrying it. The Hydroger was tied to two bamboo poles and carried by 4 mean who had to climb down a steep incline, cross a rickety rope bridge, and then walk on a 1 inch foot path with a total drop on one side to get to the village. Equipment had to be fetched multiple times, and it took us 2.5 days to get everything across.

Do share the most memorable moments of lighting Pongging?

I think the community in Pongging did not really believe that we could generate enough electricity from the machine and they were quite sceptical until the lights came on. Everyone was stunned and they started clapping and hooting - that was unbelievable. It was one of those moments of sheer joy that I got to experience.

What changes have taken place in the village since the success of the project?

On a visit in August 2014 with our backers - who chose to visit Pongging, we found the community putting an immense effort to ensure that the machine was functioning normally. Having lights meant longer productive hours. We opened a library for women and children, most of the books there are picture books, Encyclopaedias, Books on Healthcare, Pregnancy, Food, Guides to Basic Etiquette, and in general books that will expose the community to other parts of the world. On days when the water flow is good, the community can also watch Television for entertainment. Lights In Ponging

What all has team Lawma & Visco worked on after bringing ‘Lights In Pongging’? Also, what is the team currently working on?

We’ve surveyed 14 villages in the period of Feb-Mar, 2015 also 4 villages came up to us and requested us to help them. Currently we are waiting for the rains to die down and are working on a plan for the next round of raising funds. Here is a video made after the project was completed:

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