Tilonia is a non-descript village in Ajmer district of Rajasthan in India. The village has been put on the world map by the efforts of a renowned social worker Bunker Roy. Bunker Roy started an NGO Barefoot College and since the founding of this NGO the village has become a role model for all remote villages who want to become economically and socially developed.
The Barefoot College connects rural communities to solar, water, education, professions and advocacy to help communities and individuals take control of their lives and the wellbeing of their communities.
The Barefoot College respects and upholds Mahatma Gandhi's spirit of service and commitment to sustainability. The college is being talked about as Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with a group of 'Solar Mamas' during his visit to Tanzania.
'Solar Mamas' are women from developing countries from African, Latin American and South Asian countries who have been trained in harnessing solar energy at the Barefoot College.
A group of about 30 "solar mamas" from Tanzania and a few other African countries demonstrated their skills in fabrication, repair and maintenance of solar lanterns and household lighting systems to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They also presented their honey-extraction and stitching practices and sung a song "we shall overcome".
Barefoot College, Tilonia (Rajasthan) has been promoting and training rural women solar engineers (solar mamas) from Africa in fabrication, installation, use, repair and maintenance of solar lanterns and household solar lighting under Government of India supported programmes.
They have set up a Barefoot women vocational training college in Zanzibar Islands of Tanzania and other countries in Africa for imparting solar electrification skills (training) and distributing solar kits to trainees.
These colleges also support various entrepreneurial skills such as bee-keeping, tailoring, etc. The solar mamas have fabricated and installed solar kits, and now maintain these solar electrification systems in their communities.