For International Women’s Day, Barefoot celebrates its beneficiaries, a successful partnership and the launch of a brilliant film, which exemplifies the two


Barefoot College International and The Starbucks Foundation initiated a 3-year partnership as of December 2018 with the collective objective of educating and enabling rural women from marginalized regions of Assam. Our main focus is on Women’s Wellness and Economic Leadership Opportunities to strengthen women’s courage and efficacy. Barefoot, with the support from The Starbucks Foundation has been training women from two estates in Assam: Sessa Tea Estate in Dibrugarh, and Hathikuli Tea Estate in Kaziranga.

For International Women’s Day, we are showcasing and reflecting on successful partnerships. They enable us to continue helping rural women in 93 countries thrive as successful entrepreneurs. We’re also honouring the resiliency that women of the global south have. Their potential to bring whole communities out of poverty when supported in their ambitions is why we support women in their courageous journeys that help us all achieve greater global equity. This year we’re using the hashtag #ShareYourCourage so that we can all share stories of resilience and strength for IWD.

Women of Hathikuli Tea Estate, Assam

This partnership has been carefully structured to accommodate beneficiaries and endorse a ripple effect across rural villages of investment in women:

       Year 1 focused on understanding the landscape and capacity building

       Year 2 focuses on exploring entrepreneurial opportunities and building on current capacity

       Year 3 will build on the launched ventures, aiming to synthesize the learnings towards developing a template for scale and sustenance

Confident, Competent and Courageous

Our selected Assam women have benefitted from a curriculum that incorporates economic leadership, digital literacy and overall well-being. Courses include our Solar Training classes, Enriche, Beekeeping and Women’s Wellness, covering anything from topics such as sanitation, health and nutrition. Women are also provided with health products such as sanitary napkins, solar-powered products to use and sell, and when applicable, eyeglasses.

Women learning about Solar Panel circuitry at our campus in Tilonia, Rajasthan

5 inaugural women volunteered to come to the Barefoot campus in Tilonia to undergo solar training. Their transformative journey began last year, leaving their villages for the first time, traversing 5 states from the Easternmost state of India to the hot and humid plains of Rajasthan, crossing over 4 states and 2,500 km — the widest stretch of the country. They graduated and now assist with the selection process of women for our Solar Enterprise team. The solar training lasts for 3-5 months and has thus far proven a huge benefit for the estate women.

Barefoot’s Enriche Women Prosper initiative is proud to present Rumi’s Story: the journey of a woman living at Sessa Tea Estate in Assam, India. World-famous for their high-quality tea, this region is home to many women who are seeking new livelihood avenues to support their families and help their marginalized communities thrive.

Become Part of the Solution with us!

We have fondly been collecting and sharing stories about the many courageous women that Barefoot College serves. In anticipation of this year’s fast-approaching International Women’s Day, we are excited to announce the launch of our Women’s Day #ShareYourCourage campaign, where we are proudly celebrating the strength of women globally by showcasing incredible stories and demonstrating the power every woman has to increase equity around the world. Women from countries including Mexico, Thailand, Botswana, Guatemala and Cameroon.

We pledge to alleviate the burdens of Tea Estate Women- through their own ability

The funds that our campaign accrues will go toward the training of more women, who come from the 93 countries we serve. If you’re interested in supporting women Around The World, like the women of Assam, on their journeys as they transform into resilient, self-sufficient and confident leaders in their communities, please visit our IWD Fundraiser

You can also donate here any time, and now have the option to select a monthly donation.

Mina of Sessa Tea Estate, back at her home shedding light with her first Solar Lantern