Rural Exposure – A True Eye Opener!
The 10-day trip to Manthan and the Barefoot College was a true-eye opener. I had a typical city- slick opinion about people living in villages and their desire to move forward in life. A close encounter through my participation in a ‘Rural Inturnship’ program by Pravah was a turning point!
The simplicity and serenity of village life calmed me down considerably. We would be asleep by 8 pm and wake up early morning ready for the day’s work. People were very friendly, though most of them were shy. When they did open up, it was the beginning of a very animated and interesting conversation. The children we talked to were especially eager to know about how things worked, keen to study further and lead a fruitful life. I was amazed to see that the latest technology was being used in most parts of the village, computer skills were being taught and solar panels were used to meet the electricity requirements.
The visit to Barefoot College was very inspiring and challenged my stereotypical views of education and rural living. The college conducted puppetry workshops, ‘kabaad-se-jugaad’ workshops where people created with waste material, training on rain-water harvesting and use of solar panels among other skills. People from so many different parts of the world and varied educational backgrounds were being taught how to make these panels and their working.
This exposure made me realize that we may be more in touch with the latest technology in cities but we lag behind in the use of renewable energy sources. The simplicity with which this was being implemented efficiently in villages made me question the value of the education provided through books and classrooms. There is much to learn by keeping our minds open!
Rural Group Exposure, Ajmer, 2010