Imagine a 32-year-old woman living in a tent in a desert community in Jordan. With only five years of primary education under her belt, she travels to India for six months of hands-on solar engineering training, culminating in a return to her community with the skills to fabricate, install, and maintain solar power technology. This journey would scarcely seem believable, save for the fact that it has been replicated by Barefoot College time and time again. Founded by Bunker Roy in 1972 to provide basic services and solutions to problems in his native rural India, Barefoot College has since developed a form of popular education merged with grassroots social entrepreneurship that is renowned for its success in helping participants forge their own path out of poverty. Through Barefoot College, thousands of people have received training to become professionals in a variety of careers that help sustain their local economy and community, not to mention themselves.
Now imagine what poor rural communities could achieve with access to sustainable energy. Or better yet, read on to see for yourself. Relying on its army of newly trained solar engineers, Barefoot College envisions a world where collective benefit and personal independence unite to allow villages to become sustainably self-reliant.