Rural Empowerment: One woman at a time,
English-Language Website URL Other-Language Website URLs
Type of organization
HQ Location: City, Country
Tilonia, Rajasthan | India
HQ Mailing Address
Tilonia-305816, Via Madanganj, District Ajmer, Rajasthan, India
Name of Official Representative for Profile
Harsh Tiwari, Chief of Staff
Primary Contact and General Inquiries
Tilonia-305816, Via Madanganj
District Ajmer, Rajasthan, India
Phone Number: +91 (0)1463 288351 or +91 (0)1463 288210
Fax: +91 (0)1463 288206
Is Your Organisation Membership-based ?
The Barefoot College is a not-for-profit social enterprise working towards financial sustainability, largely through the delivery of its community based solar programs and its artisan industries. We are a grassroots, Indian based, international organization, whose values are grounded in the life and approach of Mahatma Gandhi.
The extraordinary and unique concept of Barefoot College began more than 40 years ago in Tilonia, Rajasthan, India. In 1965, a young post-graduate student named Sanjit “Bunker” Roy volunteered to spend the summer working with famine affected people in one of the poorest of India’s states. This life-changing experience culminated in a personal mission to fight poverty and inequality.
In 1972, Roy and a group of like-minded individuals including residents of Tilonia shared a dream of grafting together formal urban learning with rural wisdom and knowledge, allowing the voices of the rural poor to be at the heart of creating their own solutions. This vision carried on the ideas shared and spread by Mahatma Gandhi. This central belief and respect became the foundation for Barefoot College. This mindset of inclusion and social justice continues to impact, inspire and educate people today.
Barefoot College was built by and exclusively for the poor. Since its inception, this innovative rural college has worked with marginalized, exploited and impoverished rural poor who live on less than $1 a day. The program helps lift them over the poverty line with dignity and self-respect.
The leadership is almost entirely non formally educated barefoot professionals. We recruit illiterate and semi-literate women from rural communities around the world. They are brought to Tilonia and trained holistically in cross-cultural cohorts and empowered to return to their villages with needed skills that can benefit all.
The College applies rural traditional knowledge to meet diverse objectives. Our catalyst for change starts with training women to be solar engineers. We spread socioeconomic messages at the grassroots level. We employ only those technologies that can be understood and controlled by rural communities to improve the quality of life of the poor.
Please Briefly Describe Your Economic Model.
A Hybrid Social Enterprise, Barefoot College fosters and supports a host of rural innovation, digital and financial technology, Solar R&D and rural enterprises by attracting formally educated young people to work side by side with non-formally educated rural innovators.