It’s not everyday that I feel inspired by my home country. And it’s not everyday that there’s something I want to go back home and experience. But the Barefoot College is now on the list.
Started by Sanjit “Bunker” Roy in 1972, this college in rural India, specialises in teaching women skills like basic engineering, health care, recycling and rural handicrafts, which they can then pass on to other women in their village. Roy has the simple philosophy that if you teach a man a skill, he will set up a shop in the village and very soon want to move to the city to start a bigger business. But you teach a woman a skill, and more specifically a grandmother, and she will stay put and slowly start implementing it in the village to everyone’s benefit.
Raefa: Solar Mama is the story of a Bedouin woman who learnt how to make solar panels at the college, a skill which turned out to be life changing.
Here’s Roy sharing some of his barefoot wisdom and inspiration.
That women from poorer and less fortunate countries come to learn from my own, is the inspiration I take away from this.