The founder of the organization, Bunker Roy, gave an impressive TED talk. The organization (website) was set up to tackle grave problems like drinking water quality, female education, health and sanitation, electricity and power, and social awareness and the conservation of ecological systems in rural India. Its successful experiences have been promoted to other developing areas in Africa and Asia.
Roy said that he was amazed by how powerful people could become once they were equipped with knowledge. Illiterate rural women can develop special mechanism to prevent leaking in the house (they refused to share this with men though). Some women learnt to solar electrify their houses in a very short period of time. One grandma even solar electrified over 200 households in her village!
It is striking how you can change the life of the poor by just providing a window for them to explore this world. When Roy asked a woman how she benefited from the solar electricity, she said:”It is the first time that I can see my husband’s face in the winter.” The audience smiled. So did I. Roy’s work is about empowering the disadvantaged and enabling them to fully utilize their potential. If poverty is not being able to fully realize one’s potential, the barefoot education is lifting the poor out of poverty by enabling the poor to do what they can do.
“Look for solutions from within. Listen to the people on the ground. They have all the solutions on the ground,” said Bunker Roy. For development problems, it is essential to turn to “people on the ground” for their rich knowledge about the local context.