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Solar power push lights up options for India’s rural women

In her village of Komalia, the fog swirls so thick at 7 a.m. that Akansha Singh can see no more than 15 meters ahead. But the 20-year-old is already cycling to her workplace, nine kilometers away.

Halfway there she stops for two hours at a computer training centre, where she’s learning internet skills. Then she’s off again, and by 10 a.m. reaches the small garment manufacturing plant where she stitches women’s clothing for high-end brands on state-of-the-art electric sewing machines.

Solar energy powers most of her day-the computer training centre and the 25-woman garment factory run on solar mini-grid electricity-and clean power has given her personal choice as well, she said.

If the mini-grid system had not been put in place, Singh-a recent college graduate without funds to pursue training as a teacher, the only job open to women in her village-would have had no alternative but to marry, she said.

In fact, “I would already be married off,” she told the Thomson Reuters Fou

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