“Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcom X
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” – Kofi Anan
I wanted to set the tone for this short post with these profound and insightful quotes by some of the greatest leaders the world has seen. Few can stress better on the importance of knowledge and its ability to transform lives.
Now, with the dawn of the digital era, modes may have evolved, but the meanings remain the same. Knowledge, though acquired differently, is still power.
Hero Future Energies was approached by the 17,000ft Foundation – a not-for-profit organization with an aim to improve lives of people living in remote areas that lie isolated due to difficulties posed by tough terrain. We teamed up with the Raman Kant Munjal Foundation (RKMF), a Hero Group initiative that actively works for women empowerment, rural upliftment and education. Given that this was a first-of-its-kind initiative for us, we decided to pair two brilliant things – renewable energy and education – to help enhance modes of learning for schoolchildren in Leh and Kargil.
Schools so high up in the mountains face a number of infrastructural issues, owing to the terrain and the harsh climate. For one, people can only reach these schools by walking. Besides this, the lack of a constant supply of electricity also hinders their progress. While it is true that they have learnt to live within the constraints around them, there’s no doubt it greatly limits the opportunities for them to grow. To help overcome these barriers and enable the development of these children, we needed an educational solution that was intuitive, more current and helped them learn better.
Together with the 17,000ft Foundation, I had the honour of inaugurating ‘Digi Labs’ at Nimoo Village – wherein we distributed 80 tablets throughout 10 schools in Kargil and Leh. Once the children began using the machines, it was amazing to see how quickly they learned to use them. The wild-eyed fascination in their eyes was encouraging to behold.
The tablets are pre-programmed with educational applications, are easy to understand and intuitive to use. To ensure that the tablets can be recharged regularly, the HFE team has set up solar panels in these schools. We have set up a solar-storage solution that empowers both the children and teachers in the long run.
It brings me great happiness to know that these children are being empowered with knowledge and that too through renewable energy. I hope that they come to understand and appreciate the benefits of solar power – and renewable energy in general – and learn to inculcate this sustainable lifestyle within themselves. I am personally a great believer in the potential that knowledge can unlock in children. I think there are few things more exciting than the possibilities of what these children might accomplish in the future.
The development of the young minds of our nation is not a one-time fix. It is important for us to take necessary steps regularly to bring everyone on an even platform, and try to afford the same opportunities to everyone as much as possible. This small step from Hero Future Energies is just the beginning in a long journey towards a better, brighter tomorrow.
Contributed by Mr. Rahul Munjal, Chairman and Managing Director, Hero Future Energies