Summer nights in Pakistan are tough for those who try to find sleep. The electricity goes off every other hour in the center of Lahore. As soon as the ceiling fan stops moving, everyone is waking up bathed in sweat. In the overcrowded outskirts of the city, the power cuts last even longer, sometimes through half of the night. There are no trees or bushes to provide any breathing space. Bare concrete walls reflect the heat like a mirror. The Dar ul-Karishma, our home for mentally disabled people, lies in one of those outskirts.
For the 90 male and female residents, summer nights used to be difficult – and dangerous. In the sleeping quarters the temperature rises to around 40 degrees Celsius. In 2012, ten residents died from heat strokes during the hot season. This year, however, things have improved significantly. Thanks to the support of our donors and the efforts of a British engineer, our charity was able to fund two solar systems. One was installed on the roof of the women’s and one at the men’s living quarter. The systems provide 12 hours of additional energy for the home. Solar-powered fans and energy-saving lights have been installed in every room to reduce the energy consumption. Every months, an electrician checks the whole system and provides maintenance.
Solar energy now keeps the ceiling fans running throughout the whole night. The residents can sleep in calm surroundings, without being woken up even once until the next morning.