SIM CITY IN REALLY RURAL INDIA

From my colleague Egon Zippel, we_school

On our motorbike tour through north-west India [so far 4000 km of 5000 km, roughly the distance Lisbon-Moscow, and yes, I am fond of boasting about it] we visited also the Barefoot College, founded in 1972 by Roy Bunker, ranked as #15 on The Top 100 Best NGOs. Even though one eschews “ranking of NGOs”, one is still impressed by it, and rightfully.

What impressed us most was that the Barefoot College still and definitely has a tangible connectedness to its surrounding rural communities, even after 40 years and countless ‘success stories’ about it. It is a vivid example of how to help people to help themselves.

One member of “The Women Barefoot Solar Cooker Engineers Society”

But back to SIM CITY: on its new campus, Barefoot College managed to create an autonomous setup and a model of what can be done with some planning and effort: ALL electricity is generated through solar power, ALL its water comes from collected and stored rain water, food is being cooked in a solar oven. There is light manufacturing [e.g. toys and artifacts, solar cookers], medical and educational facilities, a theater, library, there are [modest] guest rooms, and there is a radio station, which broadcasts on-site generated and for the surrounding communities relevant programs, alas only 15 km in radius, due to government restrictions.

In the evening we went with our guide to a village ca. 15 km away, where we witnessed the 6-days-a-week evening school for children which can not go to day school, because they have to work – another initiative by the Barefoot College to strengthen surrounding communities.

Evening school – the kids are still full of energy

The Barefoot College also makes a point to include the physically challenged, which face many difficulties in rural communities.

A very inspiring and encouraging place.

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