Meet the Wonder Women of Indonesia
Battling the darkness of poverty with lamps, filters and stoves one at a time.
I came to know Rovina Surat, one of our Wonder Women in late 2014.
Living in the driest part of Lembata Island, in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, is already tough to begin with, but the challenge for Ibu Rovina goes beyond the dry well and months of failed harvest.
She is a single mother of two, and had been living in her brother's living room since her then-husband left for Malaysia in 2012, and never returned. She said that this was rock bottom.
Left to care for her daughters alone, she made ends meet through various creative ways: from renting out her old motorcycle to neighbours, to gathering honey from the forest, to skilfully using a traditional harpoon to hunt squid and sea cucumbers.
In 2014, she joined Kopernik's Wonder Women programme in the hope of realising one simple dream: to build a home for her children.
At every opportunity, she enthusiastically talked about the d.light S300 solar light, which she always carried with her when hunting for squid before dawn.
This demonstration of simple technology in action worked better than any big budget advertising campaign, and Rovina began to sell more and more technologies.
Within a year and a half, she had saved enough money to start building her house, and in June 2015, she finished.
It is a simple house made of bricks and bamboo, but up on a hill with a million dollar view overlooking the beautiful Flores Sea, mountains, and breath-taking sunset.
To see Rovina standing in front of her house during sunset made me smile - and still makes me smile each time I remember it.
She is such an inspiration.
One villager in her community said: "I'm so proud to see Rovina now. She has transformed from a weeping widow without a house to an inspiring woman in our village."
"Thanks to her, the whole village doesn't have to live in complete darkness anymore."
When asked her what her next dream was, she said she wanted to open her own small kiosk selling everyday goods.
"I used to keep all of my money in a soap tin and bury it in the ground. Now I'm starting to open my own bank account, so I can save more and make this dream come true."
To see her grow through the journey she's gone through, and transform from a woman to a "wonder woman", is one of the most inspiring things about Kopernik's Ibu Inspirasi programme.
Rovina is one of hundreds of "wonder women" in the initiative that has empowered women to become clean energy micro-social-entrepreneurs, connecting life-changing solar lights, clean cookstoves, and water filters with last mile communities in some of Indonesia's poorest provinces.
More than 80 million people live without any electricity in Indonesia, and many more live with unreliable access to electricity.
Almost 100 million people rely on smoky, fuel-hungry three-stone fires for cooking.
And clean drinking water is often a costly luxury.
There is great demand for affordable, clean energy technologies, especially in the poorest provinces of eastern Indonesia, but geography and demography make energy access a huge challenge.
This is where Kopernik's Wonder Women Eastern Indonesia initiative comes in.
Equipping women with the skills and resources to become clean energy micro-social entrepreneurs is a viable, sustainable way of connecting these technologies with the people who need them the most.
It creates access to clean energy technologies for last mile communities, allowing people to save money and time spent collecting firewood, buying costly kerosene, boiling water, or buying costly drinking water. It allows them to enjoy improved health and safety.
Not only that, the wonder women like Rovina and Ibu Bekti, whom you see in the video, get training on financial management, sales and marketing, public speaking, technology use and maintenance, as well as mentoring to motivate them to expand their businesses.
They also get the clean energy technologies on consignment, so they can start their own business without going into debt, and they earn something from every sale.
These women's determination to help their families and villages, along with their smiles and laughter often seen amid challenging situations, make them truly some of the most inspiring people you'll ever meet.
How to get involved
Kopernik is looking for young Indonesians to join its volunteering programme.