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Bunker Roy, Founder Barefoot College

Bunker Roy, Founder Barefoot College

Our job is to show how it is possible to take an illiterate woman and make her into an engineer in six months and show that she can solar-electrify a village.- Bunker Roy, Founder Barefoot College (Tilonia, Rajasthan).

The students are mostly women. Some are grandmothers. Hundreds have come through here from villages across India and a dozen other countries to learn how to install and maintain solar energy in rural areas. Even though it’s sophisticated coursework, the only pre-requisite for admission to the Barefoot College is that there are no pre-requisites, not even to speak the language.

Bunker Roy founded the Barefoot College in 1972. Projects have always compromised of basic underlying principle of sustainability or self reliance in all aspects of life. Bunker Roy believes,’Any technology that brings in dependency on anybody on the outside is not a technology that will work.’

Over the years Barefoot College has addressed problems of drinking water, girl education, health & sanitation, rural unemployment, income generation, electricity and power, as well as social awareness and the conservation of ecological systems in rural communities. The campus spreads over 80,000 square feet area and consists of residences, a guest house, a library, dining room, meeting halls, an open air theatre, an administrative block, a ten-bed referral base hospital, pathological laboratory, teacher’s training unit, water testing laboratory, a Post Office, STD/ISD call booth, a Craft Shop and Development Centre, an Internet dhaba (cafe), a puppet workshop, an audio visual unit, a screen printing press, a dormitory for residential trainees and a 700,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank. The College is also completely solar-electrified.

Today solar energy drives not just the equipment. This is a larger social experiment to improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. It begins in the classroom run by instructors who themselves have little or no formal education. Instruction is delivered with a mix of body language, a few essential terms in English, and lots of hands-on practice.

The students create an illustrated manual they’ll take home. It’s the closest thing to a diploma certifying their training as solar technicians. But just coming here is an unlikely achievement for students like 56-year-old Sarka Mussara, a widowed grandmother and many others who never attended school or even left her village.

Roy says a key to sustaining rural jobs and development is to use technology that can be managed by the local community, like solar lanterns and technology that’s more familiar, like rainwater collectors. All the roofs of this whole campus are connected underground to a 400,000 liter tank. We collect every drop of rain that falls on the campus.

These women, who come here to train themselves, are obviously going to have a very positive effect on the society. They are going to make sure that their daughters go to school or train themselves to be self reliant in life.

Barefoot College is not only a blessing for women of India, but even outside India. Women from Africa, Afghanistan,  and other under-developed parts of the world come here to get trained. Barefoot College has solar electrified some 350 villages across India and dozens more in sub-Saharan Africa and even war-torn Afghanistan.

Source: (1) Barefoot College in India, Article by Fred De Sam Lazaro of RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY (2) Website of Barefoot College India – http://www.barefootcollege.org/

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U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's sand sculpture made by an Indian artist Sudarshan Pattnaik, is seen at the golden sea beach in Puri, 67 kilometers (41 miles) away from Bhubaneswar, India, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's sand sculpture made by an Indian artist Sudarshan Pattnaik, is seen at the golden sea beach in Puri, 67 kilometers (41 miles) away from Bhubaneswar, India,

19AM EDT during the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The image, taken through high, whispy white clouds, shows the masses of people between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. (AP Photo/GeoEye Satellite Image)

This image provided by GeoEye Satellite Image shows Washington D.C.'s National Mall and the United States Capitol, far right, Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 taken at 11:19AM EDT during the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The image, taken through high, whispy white clouds, shows the masses of people between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. (AP Photo/GeoEye Satellite Image)

Barack H. Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States as his wife Michelle Obama holds the Bible and their daughters Malia Obama and Sasha Obama look on, on the West Front of the Capitol January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Chuck Kennedy-Pool/Getty Images)

Barack H. Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States as his wife Michelle Obama holds the Bible and their daughters Malia Obama and Sasha Obama look on, on the West Front of the Capitol January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Chuck Kennedy-Pool/Getty Images)

People gather for the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the National Mall January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

People gather for the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the National Mall January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama signs his first act as president, a proclamation declaring a national day of renewal and reconciliation and calling on Americans to serve one another, after being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States during the inaugural ceremony in Washington Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, Pool)

President Barack Obama signs his first act as president, a proclamation declaring a national day of renewal and reconciliation and calling on Americans to serve one another, after being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States during the inaugural ceremony in Washington Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, Pool)

U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Bill Mesta replaces an official picture of outgoing President George W. Bush with that of newly-sworn-in U.S. President Barack Obama, in the lobby of the headquarters of the U.S. Naval Base January 20, 2009 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Brennan Linsley-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Bill Mesta replaces an official picture of outgoing President George W. Bush with that of newly-sworn-in U.S. President Barack Obama, in the lobby of the headquarters of the U.S. Naval Base January 20, 2009 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Brennan Linsley-Pool/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Guests at the "Biden Home States Ball" record the moment as President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance at the Washington Convention Center in the nation's capital, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.

Guests at the "Biden Home States Ball" record the moment as President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance at the Washington Convention Center in the nation's capital, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill dance during the Commander in Chief's Ball at the National Building Museum in Washington January 20 2009 .

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill dance during the Commander in Chief's Ball at the National Building Museum in Washington January 20 2009 .

In this handout photo provided by the White House, a folder for U.S. President Barack Obama (the 44th president) is shown, left for him by Former U.S. President George W. Bush on the Resolute desk in the Oval Office of the White House January 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C. (Eric Draper/The White House via Getty Images)

In this handout photo provided by the White House, a folder for U.S. President Barack Obama (the 44th president) is shown, left for him by Former U.S. President George W. Bush on the Resolute desk in the Oval Office of the White House January 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C. (Eric Draper/The White House via Getty Images)

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It is a Rs 22 crore movie. Expectations were high for other reasons. One, it was Aditya Chopra’s comeback after eight years of Mohabattein and thirteen years of Dilwale Dulhaniya Lejayenge . Well, that does not come as a surprise. After giving a hit like (DDLJ), one is virtually competing against oneself! Not sure if there is a follow up formula to the ‘love’ formula.

Two, it is a Shahrukh Khan movie. He did have sole responsibility in holding the storyline. In fact it is two Sharukh Khan movies in ONE.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi Released Today.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi Released Today.

Set in Amritsar around the Golden Temple, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, touches everything that is normal, everything that is way of life in ordinary people’s lives, nothing that you do not know or have not seen in your everyday lives. In fact at times it feels that it has been shot close to home.

The movie starts off on a very old and beaten road- groom does not show up, father finds the first possible match for his daughter from the crowd assembled for the ‘other’ wedding. There starts the one sided love affair, the life of a mismatched couple Surinder Sahni (Shahrukh Khan) and Taani (Anushka Sharma).

(more…)

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