Grandmothers of light


Photo courtesy Paola Gianturco


        By Paola Gianturco. Adapted for English Language Learners. 

AT first, the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India taught young men to be solar engineers. The college hoped the young men would bring light to their villages. The plan didn’t work: the men went to the city to find jobs. They did not go back to their villages.

     The college made a surprising change: they invited village grandmothers to learn how to bring light to their villages. The grandmothers could not read or write and they were poor, but they were eager to learn. And the college knew that they would never leave their villages where their grandchildren lived.

     The grandmothers’ teachers were other grandmothers who could not read or write, but they finished the college course and share what they learn. After six months, the grandmothers could make, repair and use solar lighting systems. They could make solar lanterns, solar water heaters, and solar cookers. Year after year new grandmothers came to learn.  The Indian grandmothers have now brought light to 9,833 families in 16 Indian states!

     Then the United Nations began sending grandmothers from other poor countries to learn from the Indian grandmothers. Together, the grandmother solar experts have brought solar electricity to 45,000 families in 64 countries in the Middle East, Africa, South America and Asia.

     These women leave for college as grandmothers. They return to their villages as heroes!


Story from Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon by Paola Gianturco. Used with permission

To read the original story, click this LINK.

 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us: