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Bunker Roy and His Barefoot College
May 25, 2013 by:
Xavier Points: 12
Category: Inspirational Stories
A child of upper middle class Bengali family decided to devote his life to rural development. His dedicated effort has born fruit and has taken the shape his Barefoot College.
"Give the hungry man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." This is the philosophy which the Social Work and Research Centre (SWRC), also known as the Barefoot College, aims to follow. SWRC is an organization working to improve the health, education and economic condition of the 80,000 inhabitants of the Silora block of Ajmer district in Rajasthan, India.
SWRC was founded by Sanjit Roy, better known as Bunker Roy, in 1972. Bunker received his baptism in social work in 1966-67 when he had gone to Bihar to take part in the relief work in famine struck districts. He had gone there out of curiosity and to see people of different culture and place. What he saw in famine affected villages struck his spirit. He saw hunger and death at close quarters. A son of an upper middle class family, he had never thought that there were starving people in the world. When he returned home he decided to devote his whole life to rural development. When people heard of his decision, they thought he was thinking and talking too big. A person used to luxury cannot take up social work as his career, that was what they thought. But with his vision, sincerity and hard work Bunker has proved them wrong. First, he associated himself with the water development programmes in Rajasthan where monsoon rains are scanty. Then he decided to launch his own rural development project.
Bunker saw the needs of the farmers in Rajasthan clearly and chose three fields to focus.
2. Knowledge of scientific agriculture methods.
3. Better education and health care.
SWRC has succeeded in improving the lot of the people by its water development programmes in Rajasthan. With its centre at Tilonia, a village in Silora block it has been also supplying the other two need s of the inhabitants.
Another good work that SWRC has done is locating traditional skills and encourage their revival for income generating purpose. Due to the arrival of large industries local traditional skills have suffered everywhere. SWRC supplies loans to craftsmen to revive traditional skills of leather work, weaving, block printing on cloth etc. and their products are sold through the Centre. This has brought smile back on many a craftsmen's faces because SWRC has helped them to "catch fish". They need not worry about how they will get their next square meal.
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