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Turning grandmothers into solar engineers

Indian social activist and educator Bunker Roy is searching for two Indigenous Australian ’grandmothers’ to train as solar engineers India.

Turning grandmothers into solar engineers


November 9th, 2010

Bunker Roy, nominated by TIME magazine this year as one of the world’s 100 most influential people, founded The Barefoot College in 1972 in the middle of a desert in Rajasthan, India.

The non-government organisation promotes, identifies and applies traditional knowledge and skills that have stood the test of time, by educating the poor in order to improve their quality of life and to make rural communities self-sufficient.

Educating communities about solar energy and its implementation is just one way the Barefoot College seeks to demystify technology.

The College itself is completely solar electrified and has so far solar electrified 600 villages around India.

Roy believes that for any rural development activity to be successful and sustainable, it must be based in the village, as well as managed and owned by those whom it serves.

With this philosophy in mind, grandmothers within these communities – those who tend to have little intention of leaving for the city – are being trained as solar engineers.

After Roy’s visit to Australia, Unlimited: Designing for the Asia Pacific is supporting his call for action and are hoping others will jump on board – Their aim is to see this project materialise within the Australian indigenous community.

As a new international initiative supported by the Queensland Government, Unlimited seeks to promote the value of design thinking in shaping a positive future for the Asia Pacific region.

To support this project:

Unlimited: Designing for the Asia Pacific

Barefoot College

Watch Bunker Roy’s talk from Unlimited:

Bunker Roy spoke at an Unlimited event at the State Library in Brisbane.

Bunker Roy

Bunker Roy

Bunker Roy

Bunker Roy

Photography by Tobias Titz

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