Embracing craft to empower communities, Golden jubilee celebrations at Delhi's Barefoot college 

Founded by Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy in 1972, the college is a non-profit that has been actively engaging with the education and upliftment of rural people around India.

Published: 26th March 2022 08:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th March 2022 08:43 AM   |  A+A-

A few glimpses of the Barefoot College Tilonia crafts bazaar as well as a puppet show at Triveni Kala Sangam, Mandi House on Friday

Express News Service

Back where they had their debut crafts bazaar in 1975, The Social Work and Research Centre—known as the Barefoot College Tilonia—is back to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of its inception at Triveni Kala Sangam, Mandi House.

Founded by Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy in 1972, the college is a non-profit that has been actively engaging with the education and upliftment of rural people around India. Celebrating 50 years of successful solutions in solar and renewable energies, women empowerment, etc., this celebration—it commenced on Friday and is on till March 28—brought together exciting events that pay homage to their work. 

Aiming for an equal society
Among the many attractions of its Golden Jubilee festival is the Tilonia Bazaar, a crafts bazaar by the handicrafts section of the organisation. On display here are articles that are handmade by rural women from around districts in Rajasthan that range from handwoven bed covers featuring block prints, bell totas [bird wall hangings] crafted by the elderly women, apparel and bags, wooden toys, rugs, and more.

Roop Singh, who is incharge of the ‘Hatheli’ (handicrafts) section of Barefoot College, shared, “Our main motive is to connect these women with the organisation. They come from conservative families and were scared to venture out into the world. But once one woman joined the organisation, others slowly started taking this up.” The women are first trained, and then—according to their skill-set—given specific jobs with daily wages. The sale for the products sold here is retained so as to uplift women by providing them healthcare facilities and education. Showing us a bedsheet that was handmade by the artisans, Singh elaborated, “We try to overlap crafts to not just create a unique product but also provide work to as many women as possible.”

The event also has different sections dedicated to the development work that Barefoot College had done at several villages in areas of solar energies, water conservation, etc. They also have an ongoing folk music and puppet performance along with a photo exhibition of Tilonia curated by Indian photojournalist Pablo Bartholomew. “Tilonia has a beautiful way of connecting us back to our traditions while introducing the villages to technology. The fact that you get to directly meet the artisans is also a treat in itself,” concludes Kavita Bahl, a visitor we met on Friday.

WHAT: The Barefoot College Tilonia Golden Jubilee celebration
WHEN: Till March 28, 10:00am to 7:00pm
WHERE: Triveni Kala Sangam, Mandi House


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