The Barefoot Communication programme started in 1981, with a team of traditional and non-traditional musicians and puppeteers who are collectively known as the ‘Barefoot communicators.’
Between 2008 and 2009, six men and seven women from rural communities ran programmes on the Community Radio Station at Barefoot College’s campus in Tilonia. Six rural women, five of whom have physical disabilities, have also been trained to assemble FM transistor radios.
How it works
They began by using live and interactive music, puppet shows and street plays, as these were more familiar to rural communities than television, radio, newspapers or other media.
Barefoot communicators performed and initiated discussions on socioeconomic messages and powerful themes such as drinking water, environmental sustainability, minimum wages, employment, dalit violence, untouchability, casteism, money lending, communal harmony, violence against women, female empowerment and children’s rights. Audiences included both children and adults, as well as individuals from a range of literacy levels and vocations.
Subsequently, the communication programme was expanded to include audiovisual media, screen printing and community radio sections. Today, the communication team meets the audio and visual needs of the College and its educational and developmental initiatives by producing street plays, music, puppet shows, films, presentations, radio broadcasts, pamphlets, posters, banners, booklets, manuals, t-shirt graphics or any other art work.