(Image Courtesy: www.magazineim.com/)
In 2003, the Barefoot College, Tilonia, Rajasthan, decided to train illiterate elderly rural women as solar engineers. The biggest challenge at the time was to convince donors, policy makers, as well as the male members of the community to accept the ‘impossibility’ that these women could be trained.
But why choose illiterate and semi-literate elderly women to be the solar pioneers rather than men, who will be more likely to have some education and be easier to teach?
“Do you know why we insisted on older women? Because training men is pointless. They will grow restless and go to big cities in search of jobs. Women have more patience to learn the skill. And especially since they are from poor families, they will stay back home and prove their worth to their communities. ,” says Sanjit Bunker Roy, Founder, Barefoot College.
'In six months we can make a grandmother into a solar engineer!'
It ain’t just the age, it’s the grit and determination beyond those silver streaks of hair, that changes the world. To know more, read The Better India coverage on Bunker Roy's initiative and The Guardian's coverage on Women Solar Engineers.