Disruption typically comes from the ground up, like an Earthquake. Unexpected, a rumble comes then a shake and things have forever changed.
Some rumbles came from small labs or even garages. Others came from a gathering swell, or maybe lately, a hashtag.
At Barefoot College, we’ve been focused on disruption of ultra poverty among rural people for more than four decades. We’ve been proud to ignite a few disruptions of our own, like having illiterate, untrained women–who proudly called themselves Solar Mamas–from nearly 100 countries learn to be solar engineers and electrify their villages. That disruptive work, which provides light, economic boost and opportunity for last-mile communities across the global south–continues.
And perhaps even grows a little stronger on the seismic scale, with the announcement of Bindi Solar, the first global line of solar home lighting products fabricated, distributed, sold, Installed, maintained and repaired exclusively by women.
Bindi Solar products include low cost solar home lighting systems, portable lanterns, micro grids, DC TVs and fans as well as a range of handheld solar lighting devices critical to areas with no or unstable grid power.
“We are very proud of the work we have done in collaboration with both private sector companies, NGOs and together with our indigenous partners whose deep connection to sustainable living practices inspires us always,” says Sam Pitroda, Board Member, Barefoot College International and telecommunications leader.
Bindi Solar is the natural extension of this long-standing focus, says Meagan Fallone, CEO of Barefoot College International.
“An overwhelming call for hardware that can be maintained and repaired, is durable and a more sustainable and responsible evolution of solar electrification in last mile settings, has been heard and now answered in line with the SDGs and the urgency of climate change leadership to happen form the bottom up,” says Fallone.
Beginning in India, Bindi Solar will be distributed through Barefoot College’s groundbreaking partnerships with Frontier Markets and GHE Solar as well as the Barefoot Solar Mamas trained across 13 states. Development of the new products has been made possible through CSR collaborations with Apple, Goldman Sachs the Philipps Foundation working in partnership with The Frey Charitable Foundation and EROL Foundation.
Barefoot College has proven that a mastery of technology is one of the most effective means to developing a woman’s confidence, competence and belief in herself. The three essential elements empower people, and inspire them assume leadership roles in their communities. This product development and distribution initiative will only strengthen that trend in rural communities throughout India.