title: lighting up lives
prologue: “The Barefoot College is a place of learning and unlearning. It's a place where the teacher is the learner and the learner is the teacher. It's a place where NO degrees and certificates are given because in development there are no experts-only resource persons. It's a place where people are encouraged to make mistakes so that they can learn humility, curiosity, the courage to take risks, to innovate, to improvise and to constantly experiment. It's a place where all are treated as equals and there is no hierarchy.”
The Barefoot College will work anywhere, in any poor rural community anywhere in the world where:
As part of Barefoot College’s commitment to demystifying the technology of solar energy and demonstrating that poor communities can manage their own solar power without any technical help from the outside, 90 men and 19 women, many of whom are illiterate, have been trained as Barefoot engineers to install and maintain the fixed units and solar lanterns provided.
results: the change that has taken place in the lives of over 15,000 people now benefiting from solar energy has been immense. No longer do they have to walk for 2 days to get a 20 litre jerry can of kerosene that has to last for a month. The work of the Barefoot College has
Ritma is one of the proud alumni of the Solar Engineering Programme of the Barefoot College, supported by the Indian Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy, the European Commission and the UNDP.
Today, Barefoot Solar Engineers work across eight states in India: Rajasthan, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Uttaranchal, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Sikkim. They set up solar energy systems in areas where electricity supply is either non-existent or erratic.
epilogue: “The project has empowered women” says Maurice Dewulf, Deputy Senior Resident Representative of the UNDP. “It has also proved that solar energy provides a solution not just for cooking but for education, health and income generation”, he adds.
Above all, it has shown the positive impact technology can have on simple lives and more than that it has shown how poor people can master technologies and put them to use.