Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement

This is one fascinating and inspirational video I have seen lately by Bunker Roy. He was selected as one of Time 100, the 100 most influential personalities in the world by TIME Magazine in 2010. Roy's speech is a little bit over the top with some sweeping assertions, however there is a lot to gain in this keeping in view the bigger picture

Development projects the world over run into one crucial point: For a project to live on, it needs to be organic, owned and sustained by those it serves. In 1972, Sanjit “Bunker” Roy founded the Barefoot College, in the village of Tilonia in Rajasthan, India, with just this mission: to provide basic services and solutions in rural communities with the objective of making them self-sufficient. These “barefoot solutions” can be broadly categorized into solar energy, water, education, health care, rural handicrafts, people’s action, communication, women’s empowerment and wasteland development. The Barefoot College education program, for instance, teaches literacy and also skills, encouraging learning-by-doing. (Literacy is only part of it.) Bunker’s organization has also successfully trained grandmothers from Africa and the Himalayan region to be solar engineers so they can bring electricity to their remote villages.

As he says, Barefoot College is "a place of learning and unlearning: where the teacher is the learner and the learner is the teacher."

"Roy's idea is that India and Africa are full of people with skills, knowledge and resourcefulness who are not recognized as engineers, architects or water experts but who can bring more to communities than governments or big businesses."

- Guardian

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