Sabhagi Dablo rushes me to the courtyard of her mud brick home. There, she proudly points towards a large blue and white panel that sticks out rather awkwardly from its surrounding.
“I sold my goat and bought a solar panel,” the mother of six explains enthusiastically, “Now, I can light the bulbs in my house at least. There are no electricity problems anymore.”
Dablo lives in a small fishing hamlet in Thatta, around 110 kilometers from Karachi, Pakistan’s port city. She, and the other women like her, had lived in darkness for too long. The electric infrastructure of the village was old and unrepaired. Most of the village only received power in the mornings and that too for a few hours. Nights were pitch black and cold.
“My husband, like other residents of this village, is a fisherman,” Dablo explains over a cup of tea,
“There are days that he is not able to make a single catch.” In order to contribute to the finances of the house, and to feed her children, Dablo took up stitching. The only time she would get to work was at night, when her family had gone to sleep and she was done with household chores. “But usually there would be no light to work under.”
Fed up, she sold one of her goats for Rs16,000 and used the money to invest in a small solar power station. Its panels convert radiation from sunlight into electricity, powering her home. Now, Dablo, and other women from her village, gather in her courtyard every other night to embroidery bed linens, quilts and clothes, which can be sold in the local market.