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About Barefoot College International

Solutions that let nature and people prosper

For over 45 years Barefoot College has worked tirelessly to improve life for poor communities in rural villages. This mission began in India but has since expanded across the globe. 

We work with illiterate and semi-literate women, in these communities, training them to become the world’s first barefoot solar engineers. To date, we have trained more than 3000 women, who have gone on to electrify their villages and train a new generation of ‘solar mamas’.

In addition, Barefoot College works to bring clean water, health services, education and entrepreneurial opportunities to the villages where our solar mamas live. 

Barefoot College International is the UK home of the charity, working with partners and donors in the United Kingdom to further Barefoot College’s global mission. 

The Barefoot College Approach

Barefoot College was founded in 1972, with the primary focus on water management, but Barefoot College’s first completely solar powered campus was built in Tionia in 1980, following years of work by our founder, Sanjit “Bunker” Roy. 

When he created Barefoot College, Bunker did so on the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and it remains a place where Gandhi’s spirit of service and thoughts on sustainability are still alive and respected leaving no one behind, especially in poor rural communities. 

barefoot college - solar mamas - working together

Our Values

Our Solutions

“I am pleased to be part of Barefoot College, proving at grassroots level that individual power, skills and confidence can bring women and their families out of poverty to a quality of life, humanity and respect that we can all be proud of.”

- Jill Bausch

"This concept of teaching women, people, the homemakers and nurturers of rural life, a life skill of providing and maintaining light in their community, not only provides the practical element of 'light after dark' but also provides a vehicle to enable herself, her family, her neighbours and her community to gain confidence, stand up for themselves, enhance their own self esteem and to make a difference. This dedication and drive encourages and enriches their children’s dreams, goals and aspirations, that they can make a positive difference too, which has to be a good thing. Can we break the cycle of poverty? Well……..this has to be a solid step in the right direction."

-Tracey Margaret Balch

“The simple empowerment of the poorest villages in the developing world, will do more to educate, improve health and provide a more secure future locally in the community, positively offsetting the simple migration of the poor to city slums”

- David Van de Wiel

“ Barefoot’s commitment to bringing electricity, internet and education to the bottom 20% is admirable and an example for our time. Enabling people to start small businesses and flourish is a great opportunity to make a difference.”

- John Cheesemond

“ In my own small way, I hope to make a difference and support these wonderful solar mamas in their extraordinary mission to learn, achieve and inspire in every part of the globe.”

- Nicola Keane

Our funding beneficiary: Barefoot College

The world agreed on 17 top priorities for a better planet by 2030. Barefoot College is a global leader in crafting solutions that impact many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals from poverty to women’s empowerment.

Barefoot College Solar Program creates enterprise opportunity for women impacting climate change and fossil fuel dependence. Solar installation provides energy for schools, clinics, and small business, while saving families the high price of kerosene, candles and batteries. Barefoot Solar Mamas are catalysts for sustainable economic growth based on the platform of sustainable power.

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About Us

Barefoot College is a 47 year old not-for-profit entity registered in India. In order to create a way for UK based donors to support barefoot's missions, Barefoot College International UK, a UK registered charity, was created to support specific projects in Barefoot College's global expansion activities.

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