DHARAMSALA, India — On 19th April 2004, a group of seventeen people from Greenpeace Germany, Switzerland and India embarked on a journey to Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, to participate in the first ‘Solar Generation’ project in India. Together with youngsters from the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV), Greenpeace installed a 2KW solar generator to provide electricity to a school in Dharamsala. Here are first-hand accounts from some of them.

Notes from the Solar Generation Diaries

Deb Kumar Chatterjee, New Delhi: My name is Deb and I work with
the Greenpeace Direct Dialogue Team in New Delhi. Last week I had
the privilege of being in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh with an
international, multi-cultural team working on the Solar
Generation’s first project in India. I’d like to share some of my
experiences from this trip.

We started our journey from New Delhi at six o’clock in the
morning on 19th April, after an introduction with our international
visitors. 17 people in all left for Dharamsala – though everyone
was in high spirits, we were also keeping to ourselves a little
bit, since we were new to each other. But as with all long
journeys, by the end of our 14 hour road trip to Dharamsala, we had
befriended the others well enough to be singing songs together in
German, Hindi and English! By the end of the first day we felt like
a strong team, and got the feeling that we knew each other

This long journey made me realize how passionate the German
students were about our Solar Generation project – it also made me
realize why Greenpeace Germany is considered very strong; they have
found youngsters with the potential to be ‘future leaders’ who can
convey their message to future generations. It was a great learning
process for me.

The next morning, it was great to wake up in this beautiful
place at an altitude of 1817 m above sea level – and even better to
have breakfast in the Tibetan Children’s Village canteen, along
with the rest of the German team. We were already beginning to feel
like old friends! The bad news was that three of our German friends
had fallen ill, and needed to rest a little. After breakfast, we
were formally welcomed by the Director of the TCV and introduced to
the 12 Tibetan school students who would be working with us on this
project. Our new Tibetan friends took us on a quick tour of their
village after which we went for a slightly more formal presentation
on the TCV. After lunch we heard a presentation about climate
change by Fiona Koza (Greenpeace India Energy Campaign), and
another presentation by Sven Teske (Greenpeace Germany Energy
Campaign) about solar conversion devices. One thing amply clear to
us by now, is that in the coming years, much of India’s fossil fuel
reserves will be gone, and at a great cost to our own future. If we
are to have a clean, sustainable future, we must urgently switch to
renewable energy sources.

Sachin Singh, Mumbai: Hi, I’m Sachin, a Direct Dialogue
recruiter from the Mumbai team. I too had a great time working on
the Dharamsala project, with Greenpeace teams from 3 countries
working with the students of the TCV. It’s great to feel that
together we are actually doing something to make our planet safer
and cleaner.

As part of our first combined exercises, we brainstormed for
hours and came up with the single message we want to put out to the
world through this project – “One Sun, one Earth, one Future, ACT

We painted this message on a huge banner on the third day of our
trip, and apart from the fun we had, and the satisfaction of our
positive action, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction in the common
hope we all harbour in our hearts – the sense that even though we
belong to different countries and different cultures, and spoke
different languages, we are all united in our efforts to save the

Judging by our collective enthusiasm, I am convinced that it is
we, the youth who are going to make a difference. And at the end of
this small note, I would like to send a message to India and the
whole world: we must save our planet and we must act now to do

Jan Schlenk, Hannover, Germany:I joined the Greenpeace Germany
‘Green Team’ in 1995, and have been a part of Greenpeace projects
ever since. I first came to Dharamsala for a school volunteer
project in 2002, and liked the place so much that I came back three
more times! I brought up the idea of the Solar PV electricity
supply to the TCV school with Greenpeace Germany in October 2002,
after which I discussed it with the Director of the TCV.

Although it has taken one-and-a-half years for this project to
materialize, I am happy to see it finally bear fruit. I believe
this project is a wonderful beginning towards educating students
about Renewable Energy sources. I particularly enjoyed the
exchanges between the Swiss, German, Indian and Tibetan children,
and I do hope that it is only the start of a long relationship!