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The long-term mission of the Barefoot College has been to work with the marginalised, the exploited and the impoverished rural poor living on less than $ 1/day and lift them out of relative poverty with dignity and self-respect. The dream was to establish the first and only rural College in India built by the poor and exclusively for the poor.
For the last 40 years the Barefoot College has learnt, how to live, work and act sustainably, from the rural poor. The institution founded by Mr Bunker Roy is a College only for the poor, built by the poor for the poor. It is a College where the sustainable ideas and the practical knowledge of the poor have been put into practice through exemplary work in rainwater harvesting, solar electrification, education, health, conservation and culture.
The Barefoot College is viewed as a success story because it is shown as an example of what is possible if very poor people are allowed to develop themselves. It is a concept that has stood the test of time. What the College has effectively demonstrated is how sustainable the combination of traditional knowledge (barefoot) and demystified modern skills can be, when the tools are in the hands of those who are considered 'very ordinary’ and are written off by urban society.
The barefoot professionals include barefoot educators, doctors, night school teachers, solar engineers, water drillers, architects, designers, midwives, masons, communicators, hand pump mechanics, computer programmers and accountants by the thousands have passed through the College and are productive, responsible members of rural society.