Completed Programs of HLF
1. Solar Sisters (Ongoing since 1997)
In these volunteer programs, participants spend approximately a week in the field installing the solar electricity system in the beneficiary villages. Participants work in small teams in collaboration with local villagers and experienced renewable energy technicians. During the program, village stays are arranged for volunteers and cultural exchanges are emphasized. Since the inception of the Solar Sisters Program, more than 100 community centers, health posts, monasteries and schools in several districts of Nepal have been benefited by the program through the active philanthropy of the international solar sisters program volunteers.
For a list of many of the Previous Solar Sisters Programs conducted by HLF and the respective donors click here:
If you are interested to participate in the program, please click here.
2. Home Employment & Lighting Package (HELPTM) Program (1999 - 2003)
The objectives of HELP may be summarized as follows:
- Provide environmentally sound electricity to the rural community via the installation of solar PV systems thereby reducing harmful pollutants in the domestic environment, the use of fossil fuels in the wider sense and freeing up much needed income for other uses.
- Promote the adoption of renewable energy with combination of skill enhancement and income generation activities.
- Increase the end-use application of solar electricity to help supplement the income level of the rural population through creating various employment opportunities.
- Reduce the drudgery of women and promote women participation and women empowerment in the society by teaching new skills to develop markets and marketable products for cottage industry.
- Promote Small Scale and Cottage Industries (SSCI) and give Nepali handicrafts a place in the international arena by exporting the products.
Feasibility Study Conclusion for the HELP Program
Scattered habitation, rugged terrain, low energy consumption needs, combined with the high reliability, low maintenance cost, and almost no skill required for operation of PV systems make these systems very attractive for remote villages in Nepal. Consumers from the villages can generate income through working during the extended evening hours provided by SHS and can be used partially to pay off the SHS. It is the opinion of HLF that on the basis of findings of the present studies, Home Employment & Lighting Package “HELP” program has a high potential for success since the market access of the handicrafts produced in villages is very good. This program not only reduces the number of unemployed villagers (it also reduces the numbers of villagers attracted to glorified city life) but also solves the problems of underpaid or underemployed.
From the studies, it is apparent that thangka paintings and bamboo products have a very bright future in the international market. Even Nepali handmade paper products have a high demand in the international market as revealed by the exporters in Nepal. Also from the studies, it has been recognized that the garment products of hemp, nettle textile are also making their presence felt in the world market. The raw materials for all these products are easily available in the villages. This study also suggests that some samples should be sent to possible international markets for them to analyze the product and its market. The study also suggests to purchase various world crafts in foreign countries and determine its production ability in Nepal. The detail funding required for both the activities will be provided in second phase proposal.
From the studies, it is also revealed that there are a lot of international organizations and private importers from overseas whose mission is to help to provide access to a better life to those living in devastating poverty in the developing countries of the world. These organizations also help individuals who have the skill and desire to produce quality goods, but because of the lack of materials, financial resources and market, cannot sustain themselves and their families beyond the most austere conditions by providing a worldwide market for these goods. As revealed by the studies, these organizations and private importers have shown a great interest in displaying traditional Nepali handicrafts in their shops, web pages (internet) and other related outlets.
HLF itself can implement and execute the HELP program, however local NGOs will play a very important role in order to implement and execute the program successfully in the initial stages. On the basis of findings of the study, most of the NGOs that HLF came in contact with have already established skill development and income-generating schemes in village communities. Most of the NGOs and other private enterprises are eager to get involved in the program.
Therefore, HLF concludes the feasibility study of the program called Home Employment & Lighting Package “HELP” with the recommendation to further research market strategies and export costing of the products. The study also foresees the need of starting a pilot (test) project of the HELP program with thangka painting school. This would provide a budget to make sure the school does its job and produces students that can pay their way at the school by selling thangkas as they learn and then move up as they become more skilled. This will allow some graduates and higher level painters to get into the HELP program right away. Also thangka paintings have a high selling price and worldwide demand.
3. Thangka Painting School, Kavre ( 2001-3)
A thangka is an intricate and highly detailed Buddhist religious painting depicting deities and the universe. The Buddha Darshan Club began its Thangka Painting School project in May 1998. The project was highly successful and played a large and important role in income generation in Kavre district, west of Kathmandu. Thangka paintings have increasingly become a major source of income from tourist sales. The project provided skills to the uneducated youth of the area, overcoming the high unemployment rate and thus poverty that prevailed in the region. Despite 40% of the people in the district wanting to participate, the Buddha Darshan Club was forced to close its doors due to lack of adequate lighting and lack of funds.
The Virtual Foundation, Japan and The Solar Development Fund (SDF) supported the program for a few years . Forty Seven students regularly attended the classes, 16 of which were young ladies previously unable to join this traditionally male-dominated activity. The beneficiaries were mostly from the Tamang and Brahmin communities.
4. Himalayan Gompa Lighting Project (1998)
In conjunction with the Virtual Foundation, USA, the Himalayan Light Foundation installed solar electric lighting systems in several monasteries in the remote Himalayas in 1998. As well as being spiritual centers, these monasteries are also often the centers of the community, attracting people from the surrounding villages for a wide variety of activities. Traditionally monasteries often provide education for the children of the area and they maintain this role today particularly in areas where access to schools is difficult or expensive.
These communities and their monasteries commonly obtain light from kerosene or wood. Burning these fuels indoors causes numerous health problems including lung and eye diseases, and the dim light they produce leads to sight problems in many older monks. The HLF monastery solar lighting program provided clean, high quality lighting, and helped educate rural communities about uses of solar electricity. The Himalayan Gompa Lighting Project has already provided electricity to 5 Gompas including Pema Choling and Tashi Choling Gompa of Helambu, and Laro Gompa of Solukhumbu district (Sagarmatha zone). Other Gompas that are HLF plans to electrify are the Tatopani Gompa of Helambu District and The Gompa of Tulku Rigtsal also in Helambu. HLF is currently seeking funds from donors to provide lighting to these and other gompas.
5. A Social and Economic Impact Study of Solar Home Systems (1998)
Successful implementation of sustainable renewable energy projects in the Himalayas requires an understanding of a variety of social, political, economic, and physical variables. Socio-economic studies and field tests of various renewable energy technologies, institutional arrangements, and financing mechanisms were assessed for their appropriateness for villages.
Environmental Science MSc. students at the Environmental Change Unit of the University of Oxford, England (1998) undertook a detailed survey. Surveys were carried out in Kavre district and Dhading district in June and July 1998. The reports, which have been submitted, provide information and non-technical suggestions on how to improve customer satisfaction and program implementation. Lotus Energy (Pvt.) Ltd., Nepal, funded this project.
6. Renewable Energy System Dissemination Program (RESDP) 1997
HLF coordinated the installation of fifty solar electric lighting systems throughout several districts of Nepal in coordination with Lotus Energy (P) Ltd. with financial assistance from the United States. Applications included lighting in public spaces for schools, literacy programs, health clinics, small remote area telecommunication systems and lighting for community centers as well as for sample home lighting and electrification. These systems were the very first to stimulate and launch the Nepal government’s solar subsidy program which operated through the Nepal government’s agricultural Development Bank , ADBN.
The LEVEL-UP (Lotus Energy Village Electrification & Lighting Utility Project) Seed System Program was also completed as part of this program. In order to raise awareness of solar electricity technologies, 18 “seed” systems were installed in 9 districts including Kalikot, Darchula and Baitadi. The project was funded by the OES (Bureau of Oceans and International, Environmental and Scientific Affairs), U.S. Department of State. (1997-98).
HLF facilitated the establishment of village committees responsible for community system operations and maintenance. This assured that all members of the village were able to participate in and enjoy the benefits of the systems deployed. The program worked with a variety of financing mechanisms including micro-credit initiatives, subsidy programs, and donor-funded projects. This program included educational components to inform remote communities about the potential uses as well as constraints of renewable electricity. a