‘Solar Mamas’ Power Up Women’s Development

‘Solar Mamas’ Power Up Women’s Development

“It is time we focus on women.” These are the words of Sanjit “Bunker” Roy, the founder of Barefoot College. Set up in 1972, this college, located in the village of Tilonia, 110km south-west of Jaipur, teaches rural women many of them illiterate how to fabricate solar panels, lights and photovoltaic circuits. With these new capabilities, accredited ‘Solar Mamas’ return home to shed light on their communities.

According to a 2014 Unicef report, 47% of girls spoken to as part of a survey said they were married by the age of 18. Rajasthan, home to the Barefoot College, has the highest rate of child marriage in the country.

Everyday household tasks become exhausting and time-consuming for women, as lack of electricity makes everything that bit more difficult. The World Bank estimates that one Indian household in every five still lacks access to electricity and figures run as high as one in every two for rural areas. Many households depend on kerosene oil for lamps or cooking, potentially exposing themselves to future respiratory or sight problems. Read More…

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