There’s a small village in India where the residents are seeing artificial light for the first time. Interestingly, the man credited with bringing this everyday marvel we take for granted to his village doesn’t even have a high school education.

Hanuman Ram, resident of the Northern Indian village of Gudda, attended Barefoot College, which places emphasis on helping India’s rural population. The college is funded in part by the Indian government and trains India’s villagers who have little or no education.

And the entire campus uses solar power.

Now, as a solar power engineer, Ram has brought solar lanterns to the village, and the benefits are many. Nightfall used to shut down this town, but now children can study after dusk. The residents can perform work by the light of the solar lanterns, and the days seem longer.

“When I saw this light coming on for the first time, I was very happy,” said Yamouna Groomis, a Gudda resident.

The local storeowner said the solar lights have allowed him to increase his business by one third.

Almost every rooftop in Gudda now has a solar panel, which powers the solar lanterns, and at night, families now can gather around and listen to music or share in other activities. With his earned income as the village’s solar power engineer, Ram bought a harmonium, and now entertains his family when the sun goes down.

“I just wanted him to do something good for the village,” said Ram’s 80-year-old mother. Now that the villagers can see in the dark, it’s clear that he has.   EC