In July, 2019, HEED commissioned the humanitarian photographer Edoardo Santangelo, to document the impact of the HEED energy interventions on the displaced community living in Khalte, Nepal.
The interventions were a needs assessment and co-design of sustainable communal solar street lighting, as well as provision of free energy access across the settlement.
As Khalte residents engage with the HEED energy interventions,these images capture different stages of the project to become stories of change.
Chatham House Photo Exhibition
On the 3rd October 2019 Chatham House hosted a exhibition of curated photographs by Edoardo Santangelo. These images tell the human stories of the HEED project to understand the energy needs and aspirations of displaced people in Khalte, Nepal.
Khalte and the Trishuli River
Khalte settlement as seen from the other side of the valley, right across the Trishuli river
Apart from being the beating heart of Khalte where social gatherings take place, the main square is also a children’s playground. Communal street lighting allows the displaced community to prolong their daily activities well beyond the sunset
Community members manually tiling the soil, and preparing the land for rice plantations. Lack of appropriate energy access affects the productivity of agricultural tasks and takes a physical toll the farmers
The heavy rains that fall during the monsoon season (between June – August) create holes and natural swimming pools for children.
Rice and vegetables are both cultivated in the camp, allowing the displaced community meet nutritional needs without an external supply of food
The embers and the meat
Pooja extinguishing the fire she used to dry and smoke buffalo meat. Although the majority of the displaced people have access to LPG stoves, they often prefer cooking with firewood nevertheless to enhance the flavour of their dishes.
Faith and prayer
Kirti Lama is one of the three Tibetan Buddhist spiritual teachers living in Khalte. In this photo he is writing a prayer which will be given to the whole community afterwards
Young students doing their homework outside their home. Thanks to the communal street lighting, children can now extend the time for studying until the evening so they can experience a better education overall
Lack of adequate energy access also means washing clothes manually. This photo shows two ladies pumping water from the Trishuli river in order to do the laundry, using river stones as boards
A mother preparing puffed rice to serve as breakfast during the coming months while the children are busy watching videos on a mobile phone.
Due to the high temperatures of the summer months, community members can hardly do any work after lunch and it is very common to see women gathering outside their homes and enjoying pipe smoking during the early afternoon.
Flesh and blood
Grandmother and granddaughter resting in the shade to escape the afternoon heat. Temperatures is Khalte can go as high as 40 degrees Celsius in summer, with 90% humidity peaks that make the ‘feels like’ temperature unbearable, close to 50 degrees.
Woman on the bench
Portrait of Bhavisana sitting on the bench outside her home.
Two young women intent on using their mobile phones. Despite living under precarious conditions, each and every community member owns a mobile phone that serves as their window with the rest of the world.
Studying by the window
Students doing their homework in a barely lit room. The only source of natural light comes from a window carved out of the metal sheet-wall of the house
The elderly wise man
Ram is of one of the oldest members of the community. He keeps the keys of his house and trunk in a necklace that he never takes away
One of the seven communal street lights implemented by the project encircled by a rainbow. The solar panel and the two batteries storing the extra energy are clearly visible in the photo.
Solar street power
Manish recharging his mobile phone using the sockets embedded in a solar street light.
Solar street power
Shrisha recharging their mobile phone using the sockets embedded in a solar street light. In case of power outages, the displaced community can meet their energy needs by benefiting from the extra energy stored and offered by the solar street lights
HEED data gathering
Inside Amir’s house. The TV is on and the sockets where the ‘Individual Appliance Monitors’ (IAMs) are plugged in are clearly visible. IAMs collect data on the energy usage of the attached devices and the data is continually sent to the HEED data server for analysis.
Kaneila is resting on the bed while recharging her mobile phone. The photo shows the typical house layout and the devices commonly used in Khalte, including a fan, an absolute necessity for the hot summer days.
Wires, plugs and a thermometer
A tangle of cables and plugs inside Purna’s home. Multiple devices are connected and the red Raspberry Pi – responsible for collecting the data of several ‘Individual Appliance Monitors’ (IAMs) – is clearly visible
Mother and daughter
An ordinary evening for Kasmitha and her daughter. TVs are usually available in Khalte and families spend evenings watching programmes together
Gathering at the main square
A social gathering around Khalte’s main square. Since the installation of the street lights, community members spend more time together in the evenings and businesses prolong their activities until midnight.
The bright light provided by the solar street light allows the community to extend their activities into night.
Liniksha and her family in the process of preparing dinner. The mobile phone’s torch feature can help when the darkness comes, especially for houses that are some distance from the solar street lights
Khalte by night
Khalte settlement at night as seen from the other side of the valley, across the Trishuli river
Greetings and gratitude
Tribikram shows immense gratitude for the interventions deployed by HEED.