Spotlight On… Khandel Light
Khandel light is a Hertfordshire based charity, working in the Rajasthan area of India. The charity was set up in 2000 to help offset the effects of global warming, already felt in the desert area of Khandel, where drought and decreasing rainfall had already started to accelerate migration to large cities.
Starting with the provision of clean water – still the biggest cost for us – we moved on to health education, employing local women to promote literacy, training schemes, educational bursaries, and most recently setting up a Girls’ Parliament, giving young women a voice.
From its inception, Khandel light has worked with the NGO Nirman Sanstha, led by Rameshwar Lal Verma, meaning we are able to communicate quickly and respond rapidly, to emergency requests. During the Covid pandemic, we provided food parcels for needy members of the community, continuing to deliver these until the emergency passed.
The Girls’ Parliament is a quarterly gathering where young women can come together safely, and discuss and debate their anxieties, needs and wants. As many as 700 girls now attend. With elected MPs, a Cabinet, and Prime Minister, they are able to recommend positive and effective interventions within their communities and develop a valuable skill set to take into the future.
Khandel light supports the entire community, but with a strong focus on the rights of women. The educational bursaries, training schemes, and distribution of much prized computer tablets has enabled young women to be readily employable, and gain some financial independence.
Founder Dr Peter Gough and his wife Bridget are frequent visitors and many trustees have gone to Khandel. The two communities – Hertfordshire and Khandel – are strongly interlinked. With Whats App groups, regular phone contact and email, we are in close and constant communication. The relationship has grown ever closer over the years.
Money sent to Khandel is targeted to those in greatest need. All the trustees are volunteers, and expenses are minimal. In order to keep our support going and continue to build resilience in our Rajasthan communities, we need to raise funds constantly.