Preeti Gupta lives in rural India, 15 km outside the city of Agra, where the dusty roads of her village are filled with children playing, horses pulling bullock carts and motorbikes zipping by. Over the years, she and her family have been without power for days at a time with no warning, as electricity in the area is very limited and undependable. Like many women in her village, Preeti was expected to remain at home and care for her family after having children. But, Preeti was determined to give her children a chance at a better life. She needed to generate additional income to support these dreams, so she and her husband took out loans to open a small shop in their living room where today she sells grains, snacks and beverages as well as many other household goods. Living and working with only intermittent electricity proved challenging, but the recent addition of a solar-powered cooler provided by The Coca-Cola Company has quietly begun to change Preeti and her family’s lives.

A Small Idea Shines Bright

How exactly can a cooler have such an impact -- and she can keep her shop open after the sun sets and the other shops have closed. Perhaps the most important benefit is that her children can study at night as they pursue an education and better life.

In Preeti’s case, something as simple as a beverage cooler is making dreams a reality. Income and quality of life for Preeti and her family have increased since getting the cooler, with Coca-Cola beverage sales providing approximately 15-20 percent of their earnings depending on season. This income means Preeti can invest in needs many others consider basic: healthcare for her family and an education for her children. They now have an opportunity to get ahead.

A Beacon of Hope

"The most important moment in my life was when I started my own shop. We struggled a lot to open the shop. We took a loan from our relatives, the banks and mortgaged our personal belongings.... Coca-Cola has made a huge contribution to us. The solar cooler, along with the cell phone charger, has benefited me a lot. Customers come here to charge their mobiles.... Customers come to our shop and see the light when other shops are out of electricity.... I feel good that I am running this shop along with my husband. I have also gained respect in my family. I desire for my children to go to a good school and make something of themselves." - Preeti Gupta, rural shopkeeper, wife and mother of three.

Here's the very first video we shot about Preeti's journey: