Yesterday we visited a village called Anekal. It is about an hour outside of the city of Bangalore. We went to St. Joseph's Pre-University College and talked to a few classrooms about how solar light works and about the light pillow. It was great to see how excited kids were about the light. They poked at it and examined the solar panel closely. The school is run by the Anekal Jesuit Mission in the village. They have a few hundred students coming from all around the area- some traveling quite a distance by bus. The teacher polled the students how many were the first ones in their families to go to school and nearly all of them raised their hand. All of the kids at the school are Dalits. We were given a good lesson in the caste system and how Dalits are outcasts, the very lowest, excluded from the caste system entirely. Later on in the day, we were able to visit where a lot of the kids from the school live.
We visited two hostels here, also run by the Jesuit mission. Many of the kids who live in the hostels are without parents. One of the hostels had about 20 kids living in it. It had one, large room with a group of desks pushed to the side and a small TV. The kids were all at school when we visited. The other hostel was for boys and it was quite a bit larger. It had separate rooms where groups of kids could sleep and a few classrooms and dining rooms. We were told that the kids come home from school around 4 pm - 5 pm, study for 2 hours before dinner, 1 hour after dinner, and 1 hour in the morning before leaving for school. Electricity is not reliable in the evening and this makes it difficult for the kids to keep up with their studies. We look forward to staying connected to the hostels and sending lights there for the kids to use to study. Below is the entrance to the smaller of the two hostels.
Below is the village where the hostels are located.
Andrea's father gave a cow to Krishnappa's family a few years ago for him to make money selling the milk. The cow was out for the day to graze in the pasture, but its calf was around for us to visit. Krishnappa was really kind and we learned that his daughter goes to the Pre-University school that we had visited earlier in the day.
Krishnappa's home was very dark even in the late-afternoon. We tested out a light inside and described to him how it works. Some people in the village do have what they refer to as "current", or electricity, but it is unreliable. People were really excited about being able to save on current and have an extra, inexpensive light.