Asif Ahmed beckoned us onto a makeshift porch with two worn chairs, a shelf with dusty books, and a steel table. A bulb glowed faintly in the corner. A minute after he ducked into his narrow passageway, he emerged with a bright orange lantern clutched in his hand. He proudly handed it to Atul, who promptly threw it on the ground with a force that made you cringe. “See,” Atul said beaming – “Don’t worry, it won’t break!”
A customer using a d.light lantern
Atul Mittal is the Director of Marketing in India for d.light design – a company that has redefined what a ‘lantern’ is in over 40 countries across the world. The company designs, manufactures and distributes solar light and power products, with an aim to provide an affordable and reliable source of energy to those individuals who do not have access to it. Asif Ahmed is one such customer.
“My father is a doctor in the village, and this is his makeshift examining room. When it gets dark, it naturally gets more difficult for him to examine patients – and so that’s why we bought the d.light.”
d.light's S10 lantern, available for $8
The d.light lantern is far brighter, but there’s still a regular glowing bulb on the wall. If they have electricity access, why do they need a d.light? “Yes, we have electricity – but it’s not reliable at all, it comes and goes. What happens when we have a patient to examine?” The lantern reliably provides light without fluctuation, and is affordable.
d.light design sells their S1 model lantern for as little $8, making it an inexpensive replacement for costly and dangerous kerosene lanterns that are frequently used by people without electricity.
This year, in the month of Diwali, which is celebrated by lighting several diyas to bring in the new year, households all across India and the world are being illuminated by more than just diyas – d.light is celebrating their ten millionth customer served, and ten millionth house – or business in the case of Asif – that now has access to a clean, reliable, durable and most importantly, affordable source of light.
Keya Madhvani is a Business Associate at Acumen Fund. Follow her on Twitter @keyamadhvani