A path to development led by communities
When The Barefoot College began, a guiding approach launched with it. Since that time, the Barefoot Approach has spread to more than 70 countries. We are expanding with regional facilities in Africa, Latin America and Southern Asia. No matter where we go, the Barefoot Approach is the foundation for everything we do.
Our exceptional work is a direct result of our approach, adopted from the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. The Barefoot College is one of the few places in India where Gandhi’s spirit of service and thoughts on sustainability are still alive and respected.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
Our non-negotiable values
Every member of the team is equally important and respected. An individual’s education, gender, caste or class does not make her or him any less or more valuable.
Collective decision making
The structure of the organization is largely flat, encouraging a free flow of information and giving voice to the concerns of all the groups, making everyone accountable to each other.
Decentralisation of planning and implementation at the grassroot levels, enabling and empowering individuals to articulate their needs.
The College was born out of the belief that when people develop self-confidence and join together to solve problems, they learn that they can depend on themselves.
Austerity in thoughts and actions, as well as a lack of barriers and levels that prevent direct interaction, has resulted in a sense of ownership towards the College.
40 years of guiding principles
The College has integrated Mahatma Gandhi's ideals into its lifestyle and work ethics, holding them true and relevant universally even in the 21st century.
Create solutions that work at the village level with a combination of traditional skills and experiential learning.
First use the knowledge, skills, and wisdom found in villages for its development before employing skills from outside.
Use sophisticated technology, but it should be in the hands and in control of the poor communities so that they are not dependent or exploited.
Recognize and value the difference between literacy and education.
Respect the equality and outstanding capability of women.