projects the world over run into one crucial point: For a project to live on,
it needs to be organic, owned and sustained by those it serves. In 1972, Sanjit
“Bunker” Roy founded the Barefoot College, in the village of Tilonia in
Rajasthan, India, with just this mission: to provide basic services and
solutions in rural communities with the objective of making them
self-sufficient. These “barefoot solutions” can be broadly categorized into
solar energy, water, education, health care, rural handicrafts, people’s
action, communication, women’s empowerment and wasteland development. The
Barefoot College education program, for instance, teaches literacy and also
skills, encouraging learning-by-doing. (Literacy is only part of it.)
Bunker’s organization has also successfully trained grandmothers from Africa
and the Himalayan region to be solar engineers so they can bring electricity to
their remote villages.
As he says,
Barefoot College is "a place of learning and unlearning: where the teacher
is the learner and the learner is the teacher."
When Speaking Minds was founded in 2007 in New Zealand, little did we envisage that this would grow into an international brand with offices in India and London in less than a decade. We set up the business to share what we had learnt, from the privileges we have had in our jobs – of access to knowledge.
Bringing India to the rest of the world was our driving force.
The dna of our business is genuinely about sharing knowledge with the
world, from thought leaders and experts who are notable achievers in
their field. Raga D'silva quit her highly successful corporate career in
New Zealand in 2007, to set up a dream business of connecting
knowledge, insights, motivation from exceptional talent with the
corporate world, globally.