A non-governmental organization, Barefoot College has become a social movement focusing on women. It has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in poor rural areas for over 40 years, making them self-sufficient and sustainable. It delivers solar electrification, clean water, education, livelihood development, and activism. It teaches practical skills that enhance the life of the learner, their family and community. The current campus was built in 1982 by 100,000 local residents. It is currently opening 6 new solar electric training centers. It serves the poorest villages in multiple countries. No tuition is charged. Thousands upon thousands benefit from the work of the Barefoot University.
Located in a rural village in Tilonia, India, this college was founded in 1972 by Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy, a young privileged Indian college graduate who choose to spend his life helping raise the poor out of poverty through education. Unlike other models this school follows the will of the people and offers no degrees nor allows MA or PhD instructors. Barefoot College began by its founder recognizing a valuable asset, its wealth of willing grandmothers, and teaching them to become solar engineers in 6 months. In repayment they each teach other grandmothers, often with languages other than their own of which they have no understanding. Still they learn. Together these solar engineers have succeeded in lighting thousands of villages. Unlike most similar efforts, these villagers are taught to retain ownership of their solar enterprise, thus assuring the projects benefit the people for whom they are created. Making a tremendous impact on society, these grandmothers brought electricity to light schools for their girls who attend family livestock during the day and classes at night.
It is a model for utilizing grassroots solutions to resolve human created destruction by capitalizing upon the power of co-operation and collaboration to achieve miraculous like results. Barefoot College strongly believes, “Empowering women as agents of sustainable change” is a viable solution. To learn more visit: http://www.barefootcollege.org