Born in 1945 in India, Sanjit "Bunker" Roy has always had a deep compassion for the rural poor. But it was during the Bihar famine in the 1960's that Roy made the decision to dedicate his life to their betterment. He saw that as society progressed, the need for leather workers, traditional weavers, and other rural commodities was being replaced by mass produced goods, leaving the people with no way to make a living. In 1972, Roy established The Social Work and Research Center, now called the Barefoot College, to educate, train, and empower the poor, rural people in high-tech occupations for the betterment of their communities. The Barefoot College has trained people in remote villages in 16 Indian States and has educated more than 50,000 children through their night schools. The organization is now working on broadening their "barefoot approach" to include communities in African and the Middle East. Roy has since become one of the leading figures for development in the Indian NGO community and provides a model of inspiration for those passionate about social entrepreneurship. In 2002 Roy was selected to receive the Schwab Social Entrepreneurship Award. In 2003 he was given the Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy, and in 2005, was awarded the Skoll Social Entrepreneurship Award. Bunker Roy saw a problem that some would consider unfixable, and, through education and empowerment, is eradicating it from the inside out.
"Strengthen the rural areas and you will find less people migrating to urban areas. You give them opportunity, self respect & self confidence, they will never go to an urban slum."
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