Video | Development starts with community: Bunker Roy (Founder, Barefoot College) – Rajasthan

Visit the Barefoot College website

Tilonia-305816, Via Madanganj
District Ajmer, Rajasthan, India

Source: Barefoot College | Contact Us
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Date Visited: Sat Nov 09 2013 19:46:25 GMT+0100 (CET)

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Barefoot College is a non-governmental organization that has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities for more than 40 years, with the objective of making them self-sufficient and sustainable. These ‘Barefoot solutions’ can be broadly categorized into the delivery of Solar Electrification, Clean Water, Education, Livelihood Development, and Activism. With a geographic focus on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), we believe strongly in Empowering Women as agents of sustainable change.

Source: Barefoot College | home
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Date Visited: Sat Nov 09 2013 11:30:30 GMT+0100 (CET)

In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men — many of them illiterate — to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It’s called the Barefoot College, and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains how it works.

Sanjit “Bunker” Roy is the founder of Barefoot College, which helps rural communities becomes self-sufficient.

Source: Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement | Video on
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Date Visited: Sat Nov 09 2013 11:21:28 GMT+0100 (CET)

In a remote village on the scorched plains of Rajasthan, India, Barefoot College is at the heart of a stirring revolution. The college is one-of-a-kind: the only college “built by the poor, for the poor—and, for the last 40 years, managed, controlled, and owned by the poor”, as Founder Sanjit “Bunker” Roy explains. Here, grandmothers soak in training on solar engineering, puppetry is a preferred teaching method, there are no degree certificates, fees or exams, and formal qualifications are considered superfluous – indeed, in some cases, a disadvantage.

Despite rampant economic growth over the past decade, over 40% of India’s population—more than 496 million people—continue to live on less than $1.25 a day. Indeed, in 2010, India’s 100 richest individuals owned assets equivalent to one-quarter of the country’s GDP – stark evidence of the country’s yawning wealth gap. Consequent large-scale migration to cities has swamped India’s swelling slums, where an arguably harsher form of poverty awaits, and has also emptied villages of the youth upon whom a village’s potential for prosperity depends. Meanwhile, millions more villagers are being forced off their land to make way for ambitious construction projects – mines and dams that some view as gateways to progress.

While international NGOs have been working in rural India since colonial times, Bunker Roy argues that they, too, have been largely ineffective in improving the day-to-day lives of the country’s rural poor: “The approach that big donors and Western-conditioned experts have taken to reach the poor—forgetting about allowing the poor to develop themselves—has been patronizing, top-down, insensitive and expensive. It excludes the marginalized, the exploited and the very poor, and keeps them away from making decisions on their own.”

Formulating the ‘barefoot approach’ in the late-1960s—a time when both India’s government and NGOs were looking to technological and industrial development as means to end poverty—Bunker Roy took inspiration from the principles and teachings of one of India’s own: Mahatma Gandhi. “Gandhi believed that giving more importance, value and relevance to practical skills, and applying traditional knowledge to solving day-to-day problems were essential for the development of rural India,’ Roy says. “Gandhi’s thoughts live on in Barefoot College.”

Source: Barefoot College | Sosense
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Date Visited: Sat Nov 09 2013 11:24:04 GMT+0100 (CET)

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