Jaipur: Barefoot College in Tilonia to spread in centers in six African countries-Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Liberia and Burkina Faso by the end of this year. Initiated by social activist, Bunkar Roy, the college runs special programs to empower women by training them to harness solar energy. These overseas centers will run same courses for semi-literate and illiterate women to empower them for electrifying their houses and to expand their livelihood.
The program includes six months training program for women who doesn't know anything about the solar energy. At present the center has women from 10 countries learning from the basics to repair the solar panels. Roy, a firm believer in Gandhian model of economy believes that Barefoot college modal can bring change in the country, especially in the rural areas.
"The time has come that we should look for sustainable development model instead of business model which work on profit-loss and demand-supply mechanism. I believe that solutions to the problems of the rural poor lie within the community, in their traditional heritage and in new technologies that simply require some adapting to their situation. By utilizing locally available resources we can share the states responsibility of empowering people by providing them basic facilities like electricity," said Roy.Roy has urged the central and state governments to include the Barefoot Model in their policy. He reasoned that several hundred villages in the country are not electrified due to cost factor.
"Connecting a village with a power station for one kilometer cost Rs 60 lakh which means that villages lie in the interiors which has to connect of 100 kms from a power station requires abundant resources. It will become possible with empowering village or rural bodies which are in better position to find the solution to the problems of rural India," says Roy.
Here our barefoot solar engineers not only light their house but houses around them also at nominal cost, says Roy. The Barefoot college program has been supported by Coca Cola. (Times Of India)