Sanjit “Bunker” Roy founded Barefoot College, a global non-profit based in India, to uplift poor, rural areas. His mission: teaching illiterate and uneducated women how to install and maintain solar power in their villages.
Solar engineers said it couldn’t be done—not by uneducated people, and especially not by (yes, barefoot) grandmothers who can’t read or even speak the same language as one another.
But sign language, color-coding, and dogged determination has made Barefoot College a success. A CNNTech article notes that Roy has: “trained 150 grandmothers from 28 countries, electrified around 10,000 houses with solar power, and saved several thousands of liters of diesel and kerosene from polluting the atmosphere.”
Roy believes they’re less likely to take their education to the cities for employment, and more likely to invest in their communities.
What can we learn from this?
Well, for starters, even solar engineers can be wrong.
Shoeless or not, most of us are capable of learning a few new tricks. Charity begins at home, and even the impoverished can give back to their communities. Renewable power is the answer for both the wealthiest and the poorest of areas.
And most important …
NEVER underestimate your granny.