Throughout her childhood in rural West Bengal, in India, Manika Kayal studied hard, with dreams of getting into college and creating a brighter future for her family.
When Manika finally received her college acceptance letter, she was thrilled to accept. While in school, Manika discovered her local READ Center and began to borrow books from the library there to help her study.
Two years into her degree, Manika was told by her family that they could not afford her student fees anymore.
Determined to finish her education and stand on her own two feet, Manika started to look for work. At the time, the READ Oceanic Center had recently opened its Solar Shop - a business designed to provide an income to sustain the center while delivering solar lamps as a clean, affordable energy alternative to kerosene lamps for the community. In search of an educated employee to maintain the shop, the Oceanic Center management committee was delighted to accept Manika when she applied for the post.
Manika was able to complete her B.A. with the income she made from working at the Oceanic Center.
Today, Manika feels pride in her independence, and is happy to continue working for the Solar Shop as it "brings positive change" to both her professional and family life.
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