African women at Barefoot College

At Barefoot College, African Grandmothers are Becoming Solar Engineers (VIDEO)

African women at Barefoot College

During his struggles to free India from British rule, Mahatma Gandhi once said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

In 1972, Sanjit “Bunker” Roy founded Barefoot College, in the village of Tilonia in Rajasthan, India, with the goal of empowering rural communities to become self-sufficient. His mission seemed unachievable — even silly — to many, yet Bunker refused to be dissuaded, pursuing his dream to help the poor help themselves. He used the learning-by-doing philosophy to teach people the skills necessary to efficiently run their communities. Solar energy, literacy, water, education, health care, rural handicrafts, women’s empowerment and wasteland development were among the many programs offered through the Barefoot College, which today is recognized as one of the most impactive social entrepreneurship programs to have ever been developed.

The video highlights one of Bunker’s most successful, yet unusual programs, which trains grandmothers from Africa and the Himalayan region to be solar engineers so they can bring electricity to their remote villages.

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Photo by: Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia

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The Culture-ist