I was at a recent internal Schneider Electric event with leaders and colleagues from around the world. Typically, I like to think of myself as someone who has a wide perspective and is well-traveled. Towards the end of this forum, we were shown this video about bringing access to energy to the rural population in Bangladesh. When the lights came back on in the room after the five minute film, I had to casually wipe tears from my eyes.
As someone who is constantly trying to find meaning in life—in what I do for a living, in the experiences I have, and in the relationships I cultivate, this quick piece confirmed to me that my company is working to help people not only make the most of their energy, but actually have access to it. The video shows people in the rural Bangladesh village of Saharial, whose women must do their work before sundown and beg places with electricity to allow them to charge their mobile phones. Children must study by kerosene lamps.
I learned that 100 million people in Bangladesh don’t have access to electricity! From a partnership with Grameen Shakti, a social business organization, my company has brought solar power to over 50,000 families in rural Bangladesh with our In-Diya solar light system, which includes built-in mobile phone chargers. Families can now cook, work, and study at night, which is something I hate to admit that I have always taken for granted. A woman in the video states, “Our hard work is being rewarded with this light. There is light in our house. This is beautiful.”
Even as I write this blog from my temperature-controlled, well-lit office on my fully-charged laptop with my iPhone sitting next to me, I realize I still have so much perspective to gain! I was moved to do some additional research on Schneider Electric’s program that brings safe and clean electricity to those who need it most worldwide: the BipBop program: Business, Innovation, and People at the Base of the Pyramid. If you’d like to learn more about this sustainable development program, which I am proud to be associated with as an employee of Schneider Electric, you can visit its website here.