09 Barefoot

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  • 1. The Barefoot Revolution

2. This is the story of ordinary people who have made extraordinary things possible 3. This is the story of a quaint little village in the land of drought and color.Rajasthan.. 4. A village where the poorest of the poor lived 5. A village that had been left behind and forgotten as India surged forward.. 6. When darkness fell virtually everything had to come to a halt work, reading, cooking because the village had no electricity 7. The people were unemployable and unqualified.Completely dependent on the vagaries of fate. 8. And then came a man.. 9. Sanjit Bunker Roy

  • Born in Burnpur, Bengal in 1945
  • Elite Education
  • Deeply affected by the Bihar famine in the 1960s
  • The Code of Conduct debate
  • Founded the Barefoot College (Social Work and Research Centre) in Tilonia, Rajasthan in 1972

10. His Philosophy

  • Gandhian Principles:Deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy
    • Sustainable development
    • Self-government
    • Non violence

11. A New Approach to Social Work Before Bunker Roy

  • Elitist
  • Perception that only the educated urban people could uplift the poor
  • Paper qualifications more important than actual skills
  • An external approach rather than internal
  • Reliance on government intervention and big foreign aid packages

Bunker Roys Approach

  • More pragmatic
  • Dirty Hands approach
  • Tied directly to action
  • Believed in education as the key strategy
  • But not necessarily degree-based
  • The key to alleviating rural poverty lies within communities themselves

12. How is it possible that some people live in such penury and we go through the best of education but dont give anything back? 13. GENESIS 14. To serve the basic learning needs of all requires more than a recommitment to basic education as it now exists. What is needed is an expanded vision that surpasses [] conventional delivery systems while building on the best in current practices WORLD DECLARATION ON EDUCATION FOR ALL (Article 2) 15. Predecessors of the movement

  • Mao Zedong's Barefoot Doctors
  • John F Kennedy's US Peace Corps
  • Gandhian philosophy

16. The Beginning

  • Started as the Social Work and Research Centre (SWRC) in Tilonia in 1972
  • 45 acres of government land and an abandoned tuberculosis sanatorium leased at 1 Re per month!
  • Joint venture with specialists and local villagers
  • The ideology shift from urban specialist assistance to rural self-sufficiency

17. Problems that SWRC / Barefoot sought to address

  • Lack of professionalization and rural focus
  • Lack of accessibility
  • Poor dissemination of information
  • Dependency
  • Absence of institution support

18. The Concept of Barefoot College

  • WhyBarefoot College?
    • SWRC started going by the name Barefoot College in the early 80s
    • Millions of people in India live and work barefoot!
    • Title also used as a symbol of respect for the knowledge that the poor have

19. How It Works

  • Selection:
  • Takes men, women and children
  • Illiterate and semi-literate
  • From the lowest castes
  • From the most remote and inaccessible villages in India


  • Training:
  • Trains them at their own pace to become Barefoot..
  • Water Engineers
  • Solar Engineers
  • Architects
  • Teachers
  • Communicators
  • Pathologists, midwives, IT workers, accountants,Marketing Managers


  • Once trained, these villagers work within their own communities
  • Thus they become less dependent on outside skills
  • The teacher is the learner and learner the teacher!

Propagation: 22. 23. Barefoot Campus and Structure

  • The loose structure as a strength
  • Definite lines of authority such as the Director and the section leader but a conscious attempt to avoid hierarchies in decision making and salaries
  • Monthly meetings between the section leaders, the field centre coordinator and the Director
  • Accounts Department oversees finance, supported by senior staff who are responsible for funding requests and reports
  • The old and new campuses and the 8 field centres : greater decentralization into villages

24. The Barefoot Code of Conduct

  • Live and work in close proximity with the rural community
  • Create a space for creative and constructive personal growth - notdiscriminating against caste, religion or political thinking
  • Ensure gender equality within the organisation
  • Have an intrinsic belief in the democratic political process and not followpartisan political agendas or include partisan politicians on the board
  • Judge the worth of people by their willingness and ability to learn - not by their paper qualifications

25. The Barefoot Code of Conduct

  • Believe in the law of the land and have a commitment towards social justice through non-violent means
  • Have respect for collective, traditional knowledge, beliefs, wisdom andpractices of the community
  • Be committed to the preservation of natural resources and not endorseprocesses that destroy, exploit or abuse natural resources
  • Use appropriate technologies that sustain the community and not encouragetechnologies that deprive people of their livelihoods
  • Set a personal example in adhering to the code of conduct

26. Sectors of Work

  • Access to drinking water, groundwater management and rain water harvesting
  • Education
  • Medical care
  • Women's programmes
  • Agricultural extension
  • Rural industry
  • Appropriate technology
  • Animal husbandry
  • Communication and use of traditional media

27. The Barefoot Principles: A Yardstick of the success of the movement

  • Equality: The program treats all members as equal, regardless of sex, class, education, or caste
  • Collectivity: Collective decision-making practiced by one and all.
  • Self reliance: Members are helped to work together to develop the community.
  • Decentralization: The program is committed to local decision-making, and grassroots level.
  • Austerity: The staff members lead a simple life committed to generating a close community and a stimulating, creative environment.

28. BarefootVSTraditionalApproachApproach

  • Pressure to change system is applied from below those who are affected: self-sufficiency
  • Integrated approach covering multiple sectors
  • Emphasis on no profit no loss with fulfillment of social responsibilities
  • Pressure to change system is applied from outside or above outsiders who are not directly affected
  • Sectoral Approach
  • Emphasis on either external donations/ charity or profit focus


  • Actually live and work in villages has a much greater impact
  • Evolutionary approach
  • Does not fall into any category of organization with respect to ideals, beliefs, etc is not straitjacketed by the above it uses best facts of all types
  • Live in cities but work in villages has a limited impact
  • Project based, pre-planned approach
  • Could be limited in approach if categorized or falls into a certain category of idealistic organization such as Gandhian, Marxist, Sarvodaya, etc

BarefootVSTraditionalApproachApproach 30. DIFFERENT FACES OF A REVOLUTION 31. Education System

  • Never let school interfere with your education
  • Illiteracy is NOT a barrier to the rural poor developing themselves with skills of their own
  • Means for creating self-esteem and appropriate skills
  • Arouse awareness about the environment and the forces that dominate development
  • Literacy and numeracy are part of this course but are not the central goals
  • Expertise through hands on experience in training programs and through the informal learning of rural life
  • Achieving skills that guarantee the sustainable development of rural communities

32. Bunker Roy on Education Systems

  • Encourage private initiative without commercializing education. Give private initiative more responsibility, more space, more freedom
  • In Tilonia, education and development are inextricably linked. Youth are trained to use technologies that serve their communities while children learn about envir