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The amazing school where grandmothers go to learn to save the world.

The generation powering the developing world isn't the one you think.

Barefoot College is an NGO that is training a new generation of female solar engineers to fuel the rural developing world with renewable energy.

“I think you don't have to look for solutions outside. Look for solutions within. And listen to the people on the ground. They have all the solutions in the world," said Bunker Roy, the founder of Barefoot College in his 2011 TED Talk.


Image by Laura Cleary/Flickr.

Barefoot College does not issue degrees, preferring to teach its students practical knowledge instead.

The unique school in Tilonia, India, opened its doors in 1972. In the past 40 years, it has trained more than 6,000 women from around the world in "barefoot solutions" to problems they face back home, like how to power villages through solar power, create water purification systems, build FM radios, engineer parabolic solar-powered cookstoves, and become midwives, dentists, and teachers.

At the moment, Barefoot College's most successful program focuses on teaching women to become solar engineers. Launched in 1990, it has exceeded all expectations.

By the end of 2015, women from all 43 of the world's least-developed countries will have trained as solar engineers. Their knowledge and skill power an estimated 45,000 rural homes worldwide.

Students at Barefoot College have a few things in common.

1. All of them are women from small, rural communities where electricity is hard — if not impossible — to come by.

The Barefoot model gives them the skills to power their homes and villages with renewables, in exchange for a small monthly fee based on how much they would have spent on candles, kerosene, and wood. This fee really is small — most of these women get by on less than $1 per day.

2. They're likely illiterate or semi-literate.

At most schools, this would be a huge barrier to learning anything — but not at Barefoot College. Here trainees learn from graduates and other teachers — many with the same literacy limitations. Instead of teaching each other to read instructions, they develop skills by following mimed instructions (sometimes delivered via puppet), learning to recognize component parts by shape or color, and through regular practice.

3. Many of the graduates of Barefoot College are grandmothers.

The school makes a point of prioritizing training for “women who are single mothers, middle-aged, divorced, physically challenged or illiterate because they need the employment opportunity and income the most."

Image by Gaganjit Singh/Flickr.

It just goes to show how giving women tools and knowledge can change both their lives and their communities for the better.

After six months of training, the women leave with the skills to build and maintain solar energy systems, and to manage a solar workshop in their own community. As a teacher who worked with Barefoot College writes, the change in their confidence is astounding:

"Their transformation has been astonishing. Transformed into Solar Engineers, but beyond that, into joyous and confident women. Women who worked and laughed and bossed about other women from 7 countries they had never heard of or known existed, in languages they did not speak. I hardly recognize their faces today, so much younger and alive than when they arrived."

Learn more about Barefoot College on their website or on their YouTube channel.

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She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.