An enduring task of learning

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The Barefoot College, a social work and research centre at Tilonia, Rajasthan in India is a unique phenomenon. It is a place where one can learn by doing mistakes, where teacher and learner is the same person, where one is not penalised for the mistakes but encouraged to learn from it. It aims to develop rare qualities like humility, curiosity, risk taking capacity, and innovative spirit, to improvise and to constantly experiment. It’s a place where all are treated as equals and there is no hierarchy.

Recently this college was in news for its international applause and recognition. Alcan Prize has been awarded for the college for its noble endeavouring tasks committed for knowledge and skill acquisition. It was selected from a field of almost 200 entries from 55 countries by an international adjudication panel of distinguished experts on sustainability. It is the third annual Alcan Prize for Sustainability, for making a valuable contribution to India’s rural and impoverished citizens, by providing with necessary and practical guidance and thereby bringing changes into the communities.

Alcan prize 2006

Alcan has created the Prize for Sustainability to honour and encourage outstanding contributions in the field of economic, en-vironmental and social sustainability by non-profit,  non-government and civil society organisations. International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) holds the responsibility for processing the Alcan Prize for Sustainability to ensure credibility and objectivity.

The announcement of Alcan and the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) US$1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability for the year 2006 to India’s Barefoot College comes as a hope and inspiration for many to follow the footsteps of Barefoot.

Robert Davies, IBLF Chief Executive Officer stated that Barefoot College has created an inspirational ripple effect in rural India and communities in other countries through its innovative work in demon-strating how empowerment, grassroots technology and education enable people to promote sustainable communities and better control their destinies. According to David Runnalls, Chairman of the adjudication panel and President and CEO of International Institute for Sustainable Development, this college is a remarkable organisation that impressed and inspired us with their sustainable impact on environmental, economic, social and cultural issues. They have affected great change through strong leadership and partnerships, which coupled with their grassroots approach serves to empower the poorest of the poor. As stated by Bunker Roy, Barefoot College Executive Director, Alcan Prize is a validation of the Barefoot College’s community-based model of development.


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