Only 43% of the population in Nepal has access to electricity. In rural areas, where the Maya schools are located, only 8% does. Maya Universe academy is the first free group of private schools in Nepal. Instead of paying money for education the parents pay with their time by working 2 times a month for the school. In this way, the school can sustain itself while offering free education to the rural areas where it was not available before.
In the digital age, it is difficult to visualize development without electricity. Apart from the availability of energy, the quality of energy is also very important. Unfortunately, the schools did not have access to a reliable electricity grid. Even when the grid cables were not broken the schools faced the daily drawbacks of load shedding. During the dry season in wintertime, load shedding can take up to 20 hours a day.
Imagine this: Every day, some parts of the day, you do not have continuously access to electricity. The electricity company deliberately cuts off the power of a specific area. You call up the electricity company and they tell you; ‘‘Oh yes, that’s right… Too many people are making use of the electricity so we had to cut some of you off including you. But don’t worry, the whole country has to deal with these cut-offs, it will be back up in a few hours and just so you know… we will do it again tomorrow.” This is load shedding.
Even though load shedding happens to stop the entire country from experiencing a permanent blackout (by the collapsing of the whole electricity supply grid) load shedding still has major negative effects on the economy in Nepal.
The Maya Solar Power Project in Nepal included installing 11 solar panels combined with battery capacity. As part of the project, local engineers and electricians were hired to work on a long time solution. With the help of long-term Nepalese volunteers, the community will be educated on the benefits of solar power. Because of the collaboration with Wakawaka, The Maya Solar Power Project was able to give 30 Wakawaka Light and 6 Wakawaka Power+ devices to the communities around the schools. Manjil Rana, the founder of the Maya told us about the use of the Lights.
“One of our students, Gomma will be able to do her homework in the evenings. But it is not just about homework. We don’t have a toilet in our houses; so going outside to the jungle by night can be very dangerous. Her father Masindra who also works at the school will be very happy to see some light at his house when he comes home after work. Light is taken for granted by most people because it is so common but imagine a person who does not have fire and you give them fire. Now you give them light!“
The first time when we started to hand out the lights, I expected the kids to start playing with them. However, the first thing they did was searching for their books to start doing their homework. In Nepal, the sun sets around 6pm. After 6pm the country is forced into darkness. This darkness limits Maya to fulfill their mission of enabling all students in these rural areas to develop themselves to better the lives of their families and the community.
We hope that Maya Universe Academy can continue its mission and inspire more students like Roshani.
“I want to be a teacher, doctor, police officer and a princess. Isn’t that a bit much? At Maya, anyone can become anything.” @Roshani (13)