Magan Kawar. Solar Lighting Engineer.
streaming video — 01:40
I belong to the Rajput-caste. The Rajput kings and queens were very rich, but there are also poor Rajputs.
My husband got to know about Barefoot College through a village politician and he came here to have a look. He really liked the College approach and he decided to stay. I followed my husband to Barefoot.
I got a lot of reactions from my village people that I wanted to get out of the purdah-system. Rajput woman are supposed to stay their whole life behind the purdah-curtain and are not allowed to see or meet other people. But I decided to go for the training anyway.
My family and my in-laws were afraid I wouldn’t be able to combine work, taking care of the kids and the household. But I convinced them that I would do everything to handle work and family and to manage all my work. And with the support of my husband I started my job at the college.
I work on the campus for 18 years now. I went myself to Bunker Roy and told him I wanted to work between people, even if I come out of this Rajput purdah-system. I wanted to get rid of it and in the beginning I had to adapt but now I’m very happy.
The biggest benefit for me from following the training was that I got exposure. I needed that, I didn’t want to stay my whole life in the house behind the curtain. Luckily my husband and my in-laws were very cooperative. When I came here I was not educated and I thought I never would be able to learn about solar lighting. It was my husband who pushed me to go on with it.
When I started the training there were 3 teachers. They taught us the solar principles by color-codes, because as I’m not educated I couldn’t read. Now I teach my students the same way.
From the beginning I knew that I could become a part of the teaching staff given that I followed myself the training with success.
It took a lot of time and it was very hard work but I’m glad I took the step. I see myself as an example. If I can come out of this purdah-system, then others can too.
When we started the solar program we weren’t thinking this would have such an impact. The German engineer opened a lot towards working with foreign organisations. Now many people from different countries come for the 6 month training we give them.
Since 2003 I am in the solar section. In these 5 years there has been a tremendous change. First nobody knew what was Barefoot College. Everybody thought it was a fools thing to work with illiterate people. But now there’s a lot of exposure and people from all over the world come to visit and a lot of people come for the trainings.
Barefoot encourages especially the women to follow trainings and to learn a job. Nobody else is concerned about the destiny of poor rural women. That’s why the College focuses on women and that’s part of their succes. They go for the independence of women.
I would like to go from village to village and explain the women how important it is to get yourself trained. There are so many jobs available in the College itself. I would like to motivate these women to get them working.
As the world is changing, I would like to keep myself informed about these changes and that’s why I’m interested in solar energy.
I don’t want to do what everybody is doing. I want to be different and therefore I’m interested in technology, because I think learning about technology can help me a step forward to make my life easier and more usefull.