Zabol is the capital city of the deprived and underdeveloped Sistan and Baluchestan province. The recent decrease in the downpours, the rise of high winds, the sun warmth, the recent droughts at Hamun Lake and Hirmand River, the destruction of farms, etc. have all made life harder in this region.
The situation is so dire that today the province is considered the most underprivileged one in Iran, and is registered as one of the most polluted regions of the world. This is while the province is full of natural and historical wonders.
Zabol’s winds which made the area famous for its windmills only create problems for the inhabitants today. Sistan is the land of heroes in Iran’s literature. Zabol is the birthplace of Rostam of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh [Book of Kings]. This is the only thing that has not changed in this region.
Today, in Sistan and Baluchestan, there is a hero who fights with pervasive poverty in his hometown. Ramin Rigi, a primary school teacher in the village of Zahak, is a new Rostam in southeastern Iran.
A Breakfast that Brought Fame
Many of the children who came to school were hungry. They were pale and powerless. Ramin Rigi, decided to make history with a loaf of bread. He bought bread for his students at school. After a while, cheese and hot meal were added to their table. Then, the breakfasts of Gholamali Shahraki school of Zahak became famous. Even from other villages, the children rushed to the school in the morning to eat bread and cheese.
Breakfast is still served at this school, but Ramin Rigi says the recent price hikes caused by the US “maximum pressure” policy has made their table smaller, and hot meal is served only on some days. In addition, the students of Gholamali Shahraki school want clothes, health services, recreation, and good future.
Rigi says the economic conditions of families are worse in the face of recent economic pressures, and the income of many has reached zero which means there is no hope for the family.
Rigi first thought about the winds of Sistan and Zabol to build windmills to reduce poverty, but the costs were so high. Therefore, he pinned his hopes on the sun.
He says every day Zabol has in average 14 hours of sunlight, which is a source of wealth if saved. So he thought about the roof of the school, to bring solar panels and generate electricity from the sun for free. He took the first step, but regulations stopped him as usual. There was no law to allow using solar panels at schools. After months of correspondence, Rigi could prove that the sun can reduce poverty and provide welfare for schoolchildren.
Finally, with the support of a private company, he could bring a solar panel that is worth about 2,000 USD. The task of this panel is to save the sun’s energy and send electricity generated from its outlet to the electricity grid and sell it to the government.
This small power plant will earn 30 to 70 USD for the school per month. This is even more than the annual income of this school.
According to the Ministry of Energy, there are more than 3,200 roof-top power plants in Iran today, and Gholamali Shahraki school is the only public Iranian school that produces electricity.
Rigi wants to achieve big goals with the money earned from electricity sales. He wants to spend it on the treatment and education of the poor children, and to support the unprotected and abandoned kids.