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By: asfandkamalani
They call him ‘Malang’, in the remote mountain village of Ghundakay in the Buner District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North Western Frontier Province), it means selfless.

A tiny man with a smiling face, a kind voice and the glow of one who is enlightened, Zahir Shah ‘Malang’ brought hydroelectricity to his village with only good intentions as his patron.

Subtly grazed by the modern world, the people of Ghundakay live difficult lives on unruly mountainous terrain. Still lighting fires to cook and heat their homes, growing what they eat and seldom venturing downhill, it seemed unlikely that the lamp of progress would be lit from within.

But Malang defied the stereotype behind village natives. Educated only up until middle school, he proved that it takes passion to light up the dark, not information.

First witnessing hydroelectricity on a two day trip to the mountain village of Besham, Malang’s inquisitive mind gathered as much knowledge about the workings of a hydel power station as he could. It was then that he decided to illuminate Ghundakay since he had everything he needed: a waterfall, an idea and a bit of faith.

They called Malang crazy and laughed, as people always do when they encounter innovation. But he began his project any way with only two dollars.

Earning a living doing small contractual work, Malang spent every extra rupee he earned on this project. He designed the hydel power station, and laboured slowly on its framework. Though they joked about the impossible task Malang had taken up, his friends were inspired by his determination and decided to help him with manual labour and in keeping him motivated when he felt the burden of his task.

“My friend Wazirzada was there for me throughout” says Malang. “Every man needs a shoulder, and he offered his. We carried the construction supplies and equipment on our backs all the way uphill. We even transported the hydel machinery up ourselves.”

While Malang struggled with all of his abilities, there came a point where his meager resources dried up. This is when Malang’s friend, an advocate named Haroon Rashid entered. Inspired by the big efforts of the petite Malang, Rashid sold his car and raised the finances to buy the rest of the needed supplies and transported them uphill.

And then, of course, there was light.

Malang’s project lit up180 homes in his village, and he continues to work on lighting the 150 remaining. Though Malang’s village is still a place where people rise with the sun and retire when it sets; grow, rear or hunt what they eat and suffer the mountain winters that paralyze them, the 220 watt rays of light that illuminate every home promise a brighter future.

And this is precisely the inspiration and innovation that leads communities and groups to foster and empower not only individuals but audiences other then direct affected. The motivation to achieve and deliver has resulted in niche level objectives being carried out by small groups to be highlighted globally for macro level projects and accomplishments and ultimately business targets

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