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Bunker ROY

Founder Director of Barefoot College

Sanjit 'Bunker' Roy received his formal education in The Doon School (1956-62) and St. Stephens College Delhi University (1962-1967). He was the Indian National Squash Champion in 1965, 1967 and 1971. His “real” education started when he dug open wells for drinking water as an unskilled labourer for 5 years (1967-1971).

He established the only fully solar electrified Barefoot College in the deserts of Rajasthan in India 40 years ago. It is the only College in India built by the poor and managed by the rural poor who earn less than $ 1/day. Almost the only College left in India that respects and practices the work style and life style of Mahatma Gandhi. It is a College where the teacher is the learner and the learner the teacher. It is the only College in India where traditional knowledge and practical skills of the poor are given more importance and priority than paper degrees or qualifications. Roy is a great believer in Mark Twain

who said, “Never Let School Interfere with your Education.”

In the 20 years that the demystified and decentralized community based Barefoot approach has been implemented in over 50 of the Least Developed Countries, a total of 45,000 houses in 1,024 villages have been solar electrified by nearly 300 illiterate rural grandmothers. Without using the written or spoken word they have been trained in 6 months using only sign language in India in the Barefoot College to be solar engineers under a scheme called ITEC of the Government of India.

Bunker Roy was identified as one of the 50 environmentalists who could save the planet by The Guardian in 2008 and as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2010.


The Schwab Foundation for Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs, World Economic Forum Geneva Switzerland September 2002: The Stockholm Challenge Award for Information Technology (Category Environment) Stockholm Sweden October 2002: Tech Museum For Innovation Benefiting Humanity California November 2002: St Andrews Prize for the Environment, Scotland May 2003:The Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy London July 2003; Tyler Prize April 2004 California USA: The Skoll Foundation 2005: US $ 1 million ALCAN Award for Sustainability 2006:The Sierra Club Green Energy Award USA June 2009: SUEZ Environment-Water for All Foundation- Paris July 2009:Robert Hill Award For Promotion of Solar Energy: 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, Hamburg Germany September 2009 :First Indian to be recognized by the European Solar Community
:Conde Nast Environmental Award Washington November 2009: Asian Excellence Awards, London, November 2011, Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Guardian in London on 5th January 2008 identified Bunker Roy as one of the 50 Environmentalists in the world who could save the planet

April 2010 identified by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

November 2011, Winner, Asahi Glass, Blue Planet Prize

2010 Green Fighters 100 Eco-Lifestyle Magazine Japan

2011 Giraffe Heroes International Award USA

2012, Qimpro Award for Education(Platinum) Mumbai, India

2013 CNN IBN Real Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award

September 2013 Humanity4 Water Award New York

September 2013 Clinton Global Citizen Award New York

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