Improving the living conditions of children in damaged villages in Tamil Nadu thanks to solar energy

The Rexel Foundation supports the association Un Enfant par la Main to help four Indian villages become self-efficient in energy.

The State of Tamil Nadu, India
2019 to 2020


Project context

Cyclone Gaja, which devastated the State of Tamil Nadu in November 2018, caused major damage to the public power grid. In the Nagapattinam District, all the households that had access to electricity were affected. The refurbishment of the power grid by the Indian state is very slow and the coastal villages, located in remote areas inhabited mainly by fishing communities, are not considered a priority. 

In these villages, power outages are frequent and can last several days. This has major consequences on households’ living conditions and communities’ economic development. Moreover, the kerosene lamps used by families at night are harmful to human health and the environment.

This situation also affects children’s academic performance, since they cannot study after nightfall, as well as the activity of businesses and institutions. Among these, the community centers created by the NGO ChildFund India are forced to considerably slow – and sometimes completely stop – their actions to support children and families.

These community centers, dedicated to children aged 6 to 14, are visited by 60 people each week on average. They offer educational activities for children, academic support and tutoring between students, as well as awareness-raising actions and practical skills training.  

Some of the initiatives are aimed at parents, including local community development committee meetings, introductions to activities that provide an additional source of revenue and health education and literacy sessions.   


Project description

Together with its partner ChildFund India, the NGO “Un Enfant par la Main” decided to support four of these community centers serving 312 sponsored children (179 girls and 133 boys) and their families, representing a total of about 1,250 people.

The solar electrification of the four community centers concerned aims to:

- Allow the ChildFund India program to resume its activities, improve their functioning and render them self-sufficient in energy while reducing their operating costs

- Distribute solar lamps to children so that they can study at home after school and move around their village safely

- Promote the use of alternative energies instead of standard kerosene lamps, which present many risks for users’ health and safety (fire, injuries, etc.).


Expected results

The project has many benefits. The resumption of the activities offered by the community centers and their development improve children’s academic performance in the four villages, by providing better conditions for study that improve motivation.

This project also offers inhabitants a source of clean energy benefitting families, which are able to better organize their children’s education and their domestic activities after dark.

Finally, thanks to the support offered by ChildFund India, the inhabitants of the four villages are able to take ownership of the installations and guarantee their maintenance autonomously.

The Rexel Foundation, as well as the Group’s employees in India, fully support this project to improve energy access for vulnerable communities.


More about “Un Enfant par la Main”

Founded in 1990, the NGO “Un Enfant par la Main” is an association under the French law of 1901. It sponsors underprivileged children and implements projects in their communities worldwide. “Un Enfant par la Main” is part of the ChildFund Alliance, a global network of twelve child-focused development organizations.

Together with its field partners, the NGO rolls out development projects in 20 countries in Africa, the Americas and in Asia, and operates directly in Haiti and Madagascar.

Its goal is to implement durable solutions to the development hurdles faced by vulnerable children and their families and to improve the living conditions of their communities.

Through its actions, the NGO aims to help children and those close to them to gradually become self-sufficient, while empowering local actors.

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