Barefoot College-Solving Problems from the Inside Out

Solar energy, water, education, health care, rural handicrafts, people’s action, communication, women’s empowerment, wasteland development…they are huge issues, and are being taken on at a grassroots level in rural Indian communities by Barefoot College. Started in the 1960s, it was originally a series of projects by dedicated young professionals who chose to completely immerse themselves in rural villages to learn what the issues were being faced by communities, and to find solutions that spring forth organically from within those communities (instead of an international organization dropping in to tell people what they need). The focus gradually evolved to truly empower the local villagers, and over the decades, projects huge and intimate have moved quality of life forward. Now the vast majority of individuals working with the organization come from within the served communities. They receive training and education to undertake challenges they would not previously have had access to tackling. The dream is to lift individuals and entire villages above the poverty line. This project shows what happens when the very poor are allowed to develop themselves–it is organic and intuitive and supremely sustainable.

Check them out–if you are up to creating change, or simply interested in this day and age of countless NGOs of widely variable effectiveness, ethics, and efficacy, it is nice to see models that have a long history of quiet success.

One response to this post.

  1. Thank you for your report on the Barefoot College. Your readers can learn more via the website at or via the Barefoot College channel on YouTube. (Search Barefoot College).

    Ellen Fish
    Friends of Tilonia, Inc.


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