Wednesday February 21, 2018

This college built on Gandhi’s ideas offers no degree but produces quality solar engineers

2
//
140
Republish
Reprint

barefoot-5

By Harshmeet Singh

Meet 37 year old Naina Devi, a resident of Rajasthan’s small dusty village Tilonia, she has trained over 50 women solar engineers from 11 LDCs (Least Developed Countries) till now. She doesn’t speak the same language as her students and most of them are much elder to her. With no formal education to boast of, Naina Devi handles integrated circuits, capacitors and soldering machine with as much ease as she handles chapattis at home!

And Naina Devi is not alone. Situated at a distance of about 50 km from Ajmer railway station, Tilonia is home to trained women dentists, women artisans, women electricians, night schools, children parliament, a water harvesting system, a community FM station and much more. Tilonia is unique is more ways than one, and yet, it remains far away from the public eye and publicity that it so dearly deserves. Tilonia represents the true spirit of India; the spirit that says that the solutions to our rural problems lie within us. This unprecedented change in Tilonia has been made possible by Barefoot College.

Barefoot college

Established in 1972 by Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy, Barefoot College is a non-governmental organization that has been working for the women of Least Developed Countries by training them in the fields of solar electrification, education, livelihood development, water conservation and many more. The college, established in Tilonia, Rajasthan, runs on the principles and ethics of Mahatma Gandhi.

Covering over 8 acres of land in Tilonia, the Barefoot college identifies women from the most neglected sections of the society and trains them in dentistry, solar engineering, crafts, mechanics and even RJing! The pupils, most of them mothers and grandmothers, come from some of the most under developed and far flung nations in the world. Many of them, in their 50s and 60s, had never seen electricity in their life before coming to Tilonia.

This unique college doesn’t offer any degree to its students. The reason, according to them, is that the students leave their villages after getting a degree and start looking for lavish jobs. The entire objective of the project is for the students to stay in their village and pass on the benefits to the fellow villagers. The ‘learning by doing’ process followed by the college ensures that the students get a hang on things and are prepared to face all the possible issues within their craft.

The entire program is free for the students, thanks for the funding raised from a number of donors such as the Indian Government and some international agencies. All the local women working in different departments such as solar engineering, mechanical workshops, crafts and dentistry are paid the same wages which is equal to the minimum wage amount set by the law in India. Believe it or not, the entire college runs on solar power! Additionally, close to 100 million litres of fresh water has been harvested in the college since 1991!

Further support after training

Once the participants complete their training and move back to their home towns, the Barefoot College invests $50,000 in their villages for the installation of solar equipment. Each household in the village is expected to contribute towards the maintenance of solar installations with an equal amount as their earlier expenditure on kerosene and wax candles. The solar engineer is responsible for all the repairing and fixing of the solar installations and is paid a monthly salary from the amount contributed by the households in the village. The solar electrification program of Barefoot College has brought lights to more than 45,000 households from some of the some neglected places in the world.

barefoot-4

Life at Tilonia

Tilonia is currently home to a number of night schools where working children can attend classes after their day’s work. The teachers, again, are the local villagers.

Strengthening the democratic values in the society has always been one of the major objectives of Barefoot College. This has led to the establishment of a Student Parliament inside Tilonia. The Parliament elects its own council of ministers, which is headed by the Prime Minister. The council undertakes surprise inspections at all the schools in the village and brings to the notice of College authorities, any anomalies that they find. Such instances of inculcating accountability in the kids are seldom seen in the country.

The college also has a fully operational Radio Station which is operated by one of the trained women. Used to propagate important messages and news, this Radio Station is one of the most significant landmarks in the village. But entertainment in Tilonia doesn’t end here! The College also houses a dedicated Puppet room which is armed by professional puppeteers who organize frequent shows in the village to keep the villagers updated about the current social issues.

There is so much more to Tilonia than what meets the eye. A model village, an inspiration, a true realization of Mahatma Gandhi’s dreams, women empowerment, and welfare of the world are just some of the many descriptions that fit aptly on Barefoot College.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

  • This is a program that I deeply admire and applaud. I come from a third world country in the Pacific called Papua New Guinea where corruption has ruined my country.

    Such a program like this has a huge potential for benefiting the people of this country. If there is any way you can possibly assist through a similar program in my country, please contact me by email.

  • Nice to know about Tilona village.
    If one need more information, how one can get it?

  • This is a program that I deeply admire and applaud. I come from a third world country in the Pacific called Papua New Guinea where corruption has ruined my country.

    Such a program like this has a huge potential for benefiting the people of this country. If there is any way you can possibly assist through a similar program in my country, please contact me by email.

  • Nice to know about Tilona village.
    If one need more information, how one can get it?

Next Story

Famous Indian Forts You Must Visit At Least Once

Indian forts like Agra Fort and Red Fort are even recognised by  UNESCO as World Heritage Sites

0
//
18
India is one of the countries in the world which is famous for its architecture especially forts.
India is one of the countries in the world which is famous for its architecture especially forts. Pixabay

By Ruchika Verma

  • India is famous for its architecture, especially forts
  • Indian forts are some of the most famous forts in the world
  • Indian forts are a great way of learning about Indian history and culture

India is the land of history and culture. The Indian architecture is one of the best in the world. Indian palaces and forts are some of the most admired architectural structures in the world who people come to see and visit from all around the globe. India has some of the biggest forts in the world.

India is famous for its forts and architectures.
India is famous for its forts and architectures. Wikimedia Commons

Indian forts like Agra Fort and Red Fort are even recognised by  UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. India, especially Rajasthan is famous for its forts. It is not unfair to say that most part of India’s tourism thrives on these forts. Here is the list of Indian forts you must visit at least once.

Red Fort

Red Fort in Delhi is one of the most famous forts in India. Th red-stoned fort in Delhi is very central to the Mughal architecture. The Red Fort is a must visit because of its rich culture and history. There are two museums in the fort where one can look at the old arms and clothes of the Mughal rulers.

Also Read: 7 Forts in India you must visit: Glorious Empires of Incredible India

Red Fort in Delhi is one of the apex of Mughal architecture . Pixabay
Red Fort in Delhi is one of the apexes of Mughal architecture. Pixabay

Amer Fort

Amer Fort or the Amber Fort is one of the most explored travelling destinations in Jaipur. It is one of the most well-maintained forts in India and attracts lakhs of tourists towards it every year. One can also enjoy elephant rides in the fort. The Ganesh Pol is one of the most beautifully carved place in the fort.

Famous Forts in India
Amer fort in Jaipur one of the most well-maintained forts in India. (Pic Credits: Elene Machaidze)

Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh Fort is in Rajasthan and is the biggest fort in India. It is spread over in the area of 400 acres. The two pillars called Kirti Stambh and Vijay Stambh are famous for beautiful carvings on them. The fort has water body, temples, complexes and memorials which definitely deserve more exploration by more people.

Chittorgarh Fort is the biggest Indian form and a national heritage site. Wikimedia Commons
Chittorgarh Fort is the biggest Indian form and a national heritage site. Wikimedia Commons

Gwalior Fort

Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh is one of the most majestic forts of central India. The fort for its military architecture and beautifully painted fortress wall. The Fort brings together religions like Buddhism and Jainism and is definitely a treat for the eyes.

Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh is one of the most important forts in Central india. Wikimedia Commons
Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh is one of the most important forts in Central India. Wikimedia Commons

Agra Fort

One of the biggest forts in India, Agra Fort is also referred as a walled city because of its massive expansion in 94 acres of area. The fort has special significance because it was here that the Kohinoor diamond was snatched away by the Mughal ruler Babur and it is also the very place where Shah Jahan died.

Famous Forts in India
Agra Fort can easily be called a small city in itself because of its huge size.Wikimedia Commons

Jaisalmer Fort 

Jaisalmer Fort is one of the biggest forts in the world. Jaisalmer fort is built on the Trikuta Hill in the Thar Desert with a very strong fortification. The fort is full of historical significance and is famous for the various battles and the bloodshed it has witnessed. This is also one of those India forts which are famous for witnessing Jauhar.

Also Read: Jaipur Forts: All You Need To Know

City Palace

City Palace in Udaipur is one of the most beautiful Indian palaces with a history of more than 400 years. It is a beautiful example of Rajasthani and Mughlai architecture fusion, located on the banks of Lake Pichola. The palace is definitely worth a visit for its magnificence.

City Palace Jaipur clicked by Shaurya Ritwik
City Palace is famous for its magnificence. (Pic Credits: Shaurya Ritwik)

Panhala fort

Panhala fort in Kolhapur is the largest and most important fort in Maharashtra, looking over the Sahyadri mountain range. This is one the Indian forts which perfectly describe the Marathi architectural style. This fort will neither disappoint the history buffs nor the people who have just come for sightseeing.