The IEEE SIGHT volunteers of IEEE Madras Section organized a trip to the Senapattinam Village in Tiruvannamalai, India to see what they can do to help with the crucial issue of lack of electricity in the community. This issue affects all 120 members of this community especially the 25 children going to school. In this trip, the volunteers spoke with the residents of the village to learn more about how the absence of electricity is affecting their daily lives. The volunteers learned that the students of the community are not able to study during the evenings due to the lack of proper lighting. They must resort to using kerosene lamps, however, the lamps cannot be used constantly because it is not affordable. The students also need to travel to Perungalathur for school which is about 8km from the village and there are no lamps along that path. Because of this, many students drop out and cannot receive an education.
The women of the community also suffer from the lack of electricity. Without lights, it is difficult for the women to walk around outside. They also have to cook using a mud stove in houses with a dirt floor. This environment makes it easy for snakes and insects to enter the home and it is difficult to spot these pests in the dark. The economy of the community is also affected by this issue. The main source of income for the community is agriculture. Due to the lack of power supply, the farmers are using diesel or oil motors to extract water from well which costs more than an electric pump. Another issue is that the men of this community have mobile phones but cannot charge them. If there was an emergency in the village, they would not be able to contact anyone outside.
Seeing how so many are affected by the lack of electrical power in this community, the SIGHT volunteers along with 5 NGO volunteers traveled for over five hours to the village Sennapattinam in order to learn more about the issue. The volunteers ended up helping install two street lamps for the community and provided 20 study lamps for the students. The members of the village were thrilled. Now more children are able to go to school and the other members of the community can also feel more safe walking around outside at night.