Meet The “Solar Mamas” Of Barefoot College
To say the political chaos, social unrest, and environmental wake-up calls of the past few years have been stressful would be an understatement. As an antidote to our collective sense of overwhelm, we look to global service projects that are working to restore justice and balance on micro and macro levels.
Barefoot College is a NGO with a catchy name that’s pioneering change worldwide by harnessing the power of women, education, and the sun. Through their holistic curriculum they train women worldwide to become solar engineers, innovators, and educators.
THE SOLAR MAMAS
Women have been at the center of Barefoot College’s approach since its founding in 1974. Mothers, grandmother, and homemakers, many of them illiterate or semi-literate, are trained in solar engineering, a sustainable energy solution that not only reduces CO2 emissions on a global scale but also eliminates the pollution of kerosene and firewood on a local level, ensuring that families are breathing clean air.
Once trained, these “Solar Mamas” return to their communities and deploy their skills. The organization has trained solar engineers from over 8o countries and program graduates have installed over 18,000 solar systems worldwide. In addition to offering alternative heating and lighting solutions, their initiatives have provided clean drinking water for over 1,000 villagers, a crucial step in putting a stop to the preventable water-borne diseases that result in over two million deaths every year, primarily in children.
While solar education is the backbone of Barefoot’s approach, they also offer comprehensive training in technological skills, women’s reproductive health, environmentalism, and occupational skills. Their village-based approach relies on the skills and wisdom found within each community; it’s an approach designed to foster longterm growth on a local level, not quick, unsustainable fixes.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
You can donate, volunteer, or become a partner in Barefoot’s mission. Or, visit one of their Barefoot Colleges to see their methodology in action. Learn more.
For another global service project we love, check out Partners in Health.
- Indigenous Medicine & Culture,
- Nature Conservation,