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Talk about a bright idea.

When a 20-year-old college student went to visit her grandparents in India back in 2010, she noticed that many people were living without light—that, or they were using bulbs that fairly quickly ran out. She immediately decided to buy energy efficient bulbs for ten families using her own money.

Mansi Prakash, now an economics major at New York University, came up with a solution that was simple but effective, one that would go on to change the lives of thousands: sending eco-friendly light bulbs to small villages.

“Most families have light bulbs—they just weren’t turning them on and using them,” Prakash told TakePart.  “For someone who couldn’t afford food three times a day, paying the high electricity bills was not an option.”Beach-Saltwater-Lamp-released-SALt-cc--jopetsy

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If they used an 11-watt compact fluorescent bulb instead, which costs about $2 and lasts 3-4 years, residents would save 80% on their energy bills. The money saved could go toward health care, food or education.

Being able to turn on lights whenever you need them can give families more hours in the day to be productive, and allow children more time to study.

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Prakash, who was born in India and raised in the Philippines, has since founded the nonprofit Brighter Today and–with help from the Clinton Foundation–has been distributing energy-efficient bulbs that are donated by electronics giant Philips.

To date, her nonprofit has helped bring cheaper electricity to 5,300 homes in rural India.“teen-inventor”

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Prakash is also focused on a new solar project called Light for Life that she hopes will illuminate homes that have no access to electricity. It is another innovative device that brings in daylight with a plastic bottle, bleach and water.

(READ more at TakePart) Photos: Brighter Today, Facebook

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