IIS (deemed to be University), Jaipur


A Report

A field visit to the barefoot college in Tilonia village was organized by the Department of Economics, IIS (deemed to be University) on 10th march,2023 under the aegis of Azaadi ka Amrit mahotsav. The aim was to make the students familiar with the innovative technology developed at a local level such as solar cells, biodegradable sanitary napkins, etc.

With India holding the Presidency of the G20 till Nov 2023, the focus on adopting green energy, and efforts to enhance BioCNG bodes well. International Renewable Energy  Agency IRENA and The Barefoot College Tilonia have collaborated to realise a  common vision for sustainable energy development and to improve  livelihood in rural areas by addressing energy poverty.

The Barefoot College, also known as the ‘Social Work & Research Center is located in a remote village called Tilonia on the outskirts of Ajmer district in Rajasthan. This is a voluntary organization that began in the year 1972 under the leadership of Mr. Bunker Roy. At the outset, it was initiated mainly on the issues of drinking water in a block called Kishangarh.

It is a Voluntary Organization working in the areas of skill development, solar energy, women empowerment, and handicraft.

The students boarded the buses for Tilonia at about 8:30 A.M. and after a fun-filled journey reached the destination. After a formal introduction to the village and the working of barefoot college, the students were taken to visit the solar department where women from various parts of the country were working on the batteries. Trainees also visited the biodegradable sanitary napkin unit where a women volunteer explained the complete process of manufacturing in detail. We also visited the plant's nursery and the handicrafts and textile unit at the center where craftsmen were working on wooden toys for children.

Later, a session was held on the Super5 nutritional mixture which is completely made by the women of the village and has many health benefits. Students showed great enthusiasm and purchased the mixture packets. The sessions conducted mainly made students aware that this institution believes in imparting informal, non-structured, on-the-job practical training by identifying the poor, unemployed youth who have been unable to finish their formal education and have returned to their respective villages as dropouts.

Attendees were also shown puppetry in which the artist talked about the importance of practical knowledge, and the importance of female literacy and enriched us with the complete history of the establishment of the workings of college and the global recognition that it has received.

Post the puppet show, it was time for a lunch break where the students enjoyed a very homely meal along with the staff at the college.

Before coming back to the university, the students were taken to the handicrafts emporium which displayed a wide variety of handicrafts, garments, decorative items like blue pottery vases, and home furnishings locally made by the artisans of the village.

The entire experience of this visit to the barefoot college, Tilonia was positive and enriched the students with the importance of being self-reliant and made us familiar with the efforts taken for rural development in both the societal and economical aspects at the grassroots level in this organization, as well as made us understand the nitty gritty that goes behind women empowerment.