The Barefoot College began in 1972 with the conviction that solutions to rural problems lie within the community. Illiteracy is not a barrier to development as sophisticated technologies can be disseminated by men and women who hardly read or write.
The College benefits the poorest of the poor who have no alternatives.
The College encourages practical skills rather than paper qualifications through a learning by doing process of education.
The Barefoot College addresses problems of water, energy, education, health, unemployment and the environment in rural communities.
The College trains semi-literate men and women living in rural communities to become barefoot solar engineers, water supply engineers, architects, teachers, midwives and paramedics. Barefoot solar engineers have solar-electrified over 200 remote villages in 8 Indian states improving the quality of life of more than 80,000 people in these rural areas by providing lighting and heating. Solar engineers trained by the College are solar-electrifying villages in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Bhutan.Barefoot mechanics installed more than 1,737 India Mark II hand pumps since1979. Over 325,000 people continue to use these hand pumps for clean drinking water. Barefoot water system engineers designed and implemented community-piped water systems with 1,200 connections in 13 villages benefiting 15,000 people. These communities pay Rs. 30/ month for two hours of water per day. More than 470 underground tanks with a capacity of 29 million liters have been built for rainwater collection in schools and community centers. Over 250 night schools in 6 states of India educate over 6,200 working children who tend cattle during the day. Solar lanterns provide light for these night schools.
The approach of the Barefoot College has done more than bring practical technological advancements; it also empowers women, particularly in traditional communities.
As one female Barefoot engineer explained, her husband and in-laws were first unhappy with her pursuit of education and grassroots activism, but they soon came to respect her work: “My husband will never say it, but I know he’s very proud of me. Now he asks me to maintain his accounts for him!"
Photo Credit: Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia
Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bolivia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, India, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone
Tilonia Madanganj, Ajmer Rajasthan, - 305816 India Phone: (+91) 1463- 288204 www.barefootcollege.org A project of Friends of Tilonia (EIN: 11-3569536)
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