Thursday December 14, 2017

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

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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.

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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.

  • 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

Crimes Against Women Perpetrate in Every two Minutes: NCRB Analysis

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Crimes against women in India
Father, left and mother, center of the Indian student victim who was fatally gang raped on this day three years back on a moving bus in the Indian capital join others at a candle lit vigil in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. VOA
  • Any kind of physical or mental harm towards women is deemed as  “crime against women”
  • Domestic violence is the most dominant crime against women
  • Andhra Pradesh state is the highest to report crimes against women in the period of ten years

Sep 20, 2017: A report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) suggests that crimes against women have increased violently in the last ten years with an estimated figure of  2.24 million crimes. The figure is also suggestive of the fact: 26 crimes against women are reported every hour, or one complaint every two minutes, reports IndiaSpend analysis.

The most dominant crime against women with 909,713 cases reported in last decade was ‘cruelty by husbands and relatives’ under section 498‐A of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

‘Assault on women’ booked under section 354 of IPC is the second-most-reported crime against women with 470,556 crimes.

‘Kidnapping and abduction of women’ are the third-most-reported crime with 315,074 crimes, followed by ‘rape’ (243,051), ‘insult to modesty of women’ (104,151) and ‘dowry death’ (80,833).

The NCRB report also listed three heads, namely commit rape (4,234), abetment of suicide of women (3,734) and protection of women from domestic violence (426) under which cases of crime against women have been reported in 2014.

Andhra Pradesh has reported the most crimes against women (263,839) over the past 10 years.

Andhra Pradesh state is the highest (263,839) to report crimes against women in the period of ten years. Crimes reported for insult (35,733) ranks first followed by cruelty by husband relatives (117,458), assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (51,376) and dowry-related deaths (5,364).

West Bengal (239,760) is second most crime against women state followed by Uttar Pradesh (236,456), Rajasthan (188,928) and Madhya Pradesh (175,593).

Abduction increased up to three folds over the recent years,  with Uttar Pradesh being the worst affected state. Cases rose from 15,750 cases in 2005 to 57,311 cases in 2014.

Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

 

Next Story

Hello Foodies ! You Can Spot These 8 Street Foods at Every Nook and Corner in India

Here is a list of delicious street food items, now available everywhere in India

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Delicious Street Food
Delicious Street Food in India. Wikimedia

Sep 02, 2017: Street foods in India is the new trend amongst foodies these days and are indeed delectable to savor. Previously, it was known that street food confined to a particular region. However, nowadays, a south Indian food can be found even in the north of the country and here is why you don’t need to go all the way to Assam to eat momos.

Many street food items have become quite popular throughout. Let’s have a look at these street food items.

Here is a list of delicious street food items, now available everywhere:

Vada Pao

Street Foods
Vada Pao in Delhi. Wikimedia

Vada Pao is the Indian style burger, quite famous in Maharastra. Fried potato dumplings are stuffed inside pao and are coupled with green chili and spicy chutney that add flavor to this Maharashtrian dish.

Chaat

Street Foods
Papri Chaat. Wikimedia

The sweet, tangy, and spicy taste of Aloo tikki, Gol Gappa, bhelpuri, Sevpuri, will tempt you. This is a mouth-watering street food from Uttar Pradesh. It adds extra taste to your buds when garnished with curd and chutney.

Momos

Street Foods
Cabbage Momos. Wikimedia

The white colored steamed snack of North East is getting popular amongst Indians these days. It makes an awesome combo when served with spicy red chutney and hot momos.

Also Read: “Regionality is What Sets Indian Food Apart” from the Cuisines Across the World, says MasterChef Australia Judge Gary Mehigan 

Poha Jalebi

Street Foods
Poha the staple breakfast of India, with Jalebi. Wikimedia

Sweet jalebis served with salty poha is a trademark street food of Madhya Pradesh. Now the combination is a hit amongst people of the country.

Idli Sambhar

Street Foods
Idli-Sambhar-Coconut chutney. Wikimedia

Idli Sambhar is the most popular street food of Tamil Nadu in India. It is a delicious combo of idli, sambhar and coconut chutney.

Chole Bhatura

Street Foods
Chole bhature. Wikimedia

Chole Bhature, a favorite dish of every Indian is chiefly a treat of Punjab.  It is served with green chilies, onions, and chutney.

Dhokla

Street Foods
Gujarati Dhokla (Khaman Dhokla). Wikimedia

The sweet-sour Dhoklas are a specialty of Gujarat state. It is a famous street food baked from the fermented batter of gram flour. This treat is also served with chutney and green chilies.

Pyaz ki Kachori

Street Foods
Rajasthani Pyaz ki Kachori. Wikimedia

Pyaz ki Kachori was originated in Jodhpur city of Rajasthan. The dish is now relished all over India. These crispy and flaky kachoris with onion masala, garnished with sweet tamarind chutney will throb your heart.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

 

Next Story

#RapistRamRahim : Kamlesh Kumar from Rajasthan Lost his Wife at Dera 2 Years Back

He lost his wife on March 24, 2015 during a family visit to the Sirsa-based Dera

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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Twitter
  • Kamlesh Kumar lost his wife during a family visit to the Sirsa-based Dera on March 24, 2015
  • Dera Chief wanted to meet his wife Guddi personally
  • FIR was registered at the city’s Jawahar Circle police station on charges of abduction and criminal conspiracy

Jaipur, Rajasthan, August 28, 2017: Kamlesh Kumar from Rajasthan lost his wife 2 years back at Dera. Now he wants justice as the rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Dera Sacha Sauda chief has been jailed.

The Rohtak court has today awarded 10 years rigorous life sentence to Ram Rahim. While the godman cries and pleads guilty before the court, activists and victims argue that the verdict was not fair enough after 15 years of wait.

His lawyer Babulal Bairwa said, “Kamlesh Kumar, a 27-year-old laborer from Jaipur, lost his wife during a family visit to the Sirsa-based Dera on March 24, 2015.”

Kumar’s wife’s name is Guddi (she was in her 20’s), she was allegedly taken aside by a volunteer as the “Dera Chief wanted to meet her personally”, lawyer Bairwa said. According to PTI report, Bairwa said, “That was the last time that Kumar saw his wife.” Kamlesh Kumar and his children searched for her, when he asked some Dera volunteers, they told him to wait for few days.

The lawyer also said that Kumar approached the Sirsa police when Guddi did not return but the police didn’t help him in any way. He had no option but to seek court’s help.

Also Read: Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Being Treated As Ordinary Prisoner, Clarifies Haryana DGP (Jails)

Bairwa said that as per the directions of the court in Jaipur FIR was registered at the city’s Jawahar Circle police station on charges of abduction and criminal conspiracy on May 5, 2015.

But, the investigating officer who filed a final report in the case failed to record the statement of the 50- year-old Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. This made Kumar file a “protest petition” in the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) court on February 18, 2017. Bairwa said that the hearing date which has been fixed by the court is 7 September.

Rajesh Soni, SHO of Jawahar Circle police station said that “Then SHO and investigating officer had filed a final report in the matter related to Kumar’s complaint but added that he was not aware of its content,” mentions PTI report.

Bairwa has a hope that the rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh who got jailed by a CBI court would help  Kamlesh Kumar to get justice.

Singh’s conviction in a 15- year-old rape case on 25 August 2017 saw his followers protest in various places, creating heavy chaos and damage in Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan. It lead to the death of 38 people till now. The protests also reached Ghaziabad, Noida, and Delhi. Jagdeep Singh, CBI court judge will fly to the Sunaria jail in Rohtak today where he would declare the duration of the jail sentence that Singh would get at 2.30 p.m.


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