Tilonia’s ‘solar mamas’ are glowing

Diplomats praise new skills ofrural women
A group of 45 women from 10 countries, ‘solar mamas’ who learnt the skills needed for the fabrication of solar panels, lights and photovoltaic circuits in a six-month-long training programme, were felicitated at a ‘graduation ceremony’ at the Barefoot College here on Saturday. Diplomats from five countries attended the event.
Agents of change
Having developed the potential to become agents of change in their respective countries, the ‘solar mamas’ successfully completed an in-house solar engineering programme. They are a part of the 20th batch of students at the extraordinary school in the Tilonia village of Rajasthan’s Ajmer district, which has helped turn rural wisdom into a fountainhead for development. The Barefoot College, established four decades ago, empowers marginalised women by training them to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists, broadcasters and doctors for their own villages.
The institution has so far trained over 15,000 women in various skills.
Training in solar energy applications is the Barefoot College’s latest initiative. It was launched in 2005 and is now supported by the Ministry of External Affairs. It caters to two groups of women — from India, and from Latin America, other parts of Asia, the Pacific Islands, and African countries. Women from Madagascar, Botswana, Tanzania, Fiji, Uganda, Afghanistan, Argentina, Myanmar, Philippines and Turkey were given a warm send-off at the ceremony on the completion of the course. They will replicate the model in their villages by installing solar lanterns and panels, and train the women in their communities for the electrification of their homes.
While Namuddu Mary Kevin from Uganda said the course would help ‘solar mamas’ meet the challenges in their lives, Altitarmak Huray from Turkey said she would ensure that people of her village did not live in darkness again. New Zealand High Commissioner Joanna Kempkers praised the Barefoot College’s training for mostly illiterate and semi-literate rural women. Diplomats Shaida Mohammed Abdali from Afghanistan, Baraka Haran Luvanda from Tanzania, Marie Leontine Razana Drasoa from Madagascar and Yogesh Punja from Fiji were among those who attended the ceremony.
Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tilonias-solar-mamas-are-glowing/article24905858.ece

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