In 2014, Lad Devi and her co-workers formed the Dooni dairy cooperative to pool extra milk from their cows and buffaloes. Since 2021, six solar powered refrigerators funded by the IKEA Foundation are making it possible to keep that milk reliably chilled in the hot climate. Now each woman makes around 400 rupees a day, changing their lives in this poor and socially conservative rural community and making it possible to send their children to school. Other villagers are buying solar lamps and setting up solar panels strong enough to power a fan, charge mobile phones and run a few lights. In rural India, solar power means rural women can make a living locally rather than moving to cities. Many, like the women in Dooni, start with self-help groups formed under the Indian government’s National Rural Livelihood Mission to empower rural women and reduce poverty launched in 2011.

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