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Backpack Doubles As Reading Light So Children In Indian Slums Can Still Study During Power Cuts

02/11/2015 12:35 pm ET | Updated Feb 11, 2015

A woman's simple invention could help reduce school drop-out rates in India.

Many children living in slums in Delhi, India, aren't able to study at night due to frequent power cuts, The Better Indian reported. And the inconvenience has contributed to a much larger problem.

"Most of Delhi’s slums have frequent power cuts which mean children do their homework under candlelight or kerosene lamps," Anusheela Saha, creative director of Cheil India, told The New Indian Express. "The flickering light not only makes it difficult for them to study but eventually leads to them losing interest in studies and even dropping out of schools."

A 2013 study found Indian schools have a staggering 40 percent dropout rate at the elementary level. Saha decided to design a solution: Enter the "Light Bag" -- a solar-powered backpack that has a built-in lamp.

She hopes that her invention will change the way kids think about their studies.

"The intention with the Light Bag was to give the children their very own study unit –- meant only for them to use," the designer told The Better India. "[It's] something, that gives them a lot of pride to own and also [induces] interest in reading and studying."

The bags, which have solar panels attached to the sides, can be charged while the students walk to school, or play outside, Saha explained to the Hindustan Times. Salaam Balak Trust, an Indian NGO, agreed to partner with her, and so far, about 30 to 40 bags have been given to children free-of-charge, with the help of funding from Cheil India, The Better India reported.

Saha told the outlet that she hopes with more contributions, her invention can spread to rural India, and give students another reason to stay in school.

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