Along with Brazil, China, Russia, and South Africa, the Republic of India is part of the BRICS bloc of nations that show the most promise in terms of rapid economic growth. Within this bloc, India and Brazil attract lots of attention due to the challenges they face in terms of eradicating poverty and dealing with large populations in need of adequate social development. To this effect, these two nations focus on empowering communities so that they can become sustainable and self-sufficient.
Self-sufficient individuals tend to be a great asset to their communities and to their countries for various reasons. First of all, consumer societies that thrive on capitalism tend to be greatly affected during periods of economic downturn. Second, the pursuit of sustainability often results in stronger communities that are willing to stick together when things become difficult. In India, teaching children the principles of a self-sufficient lifestyle is something that has been practiced for decades. Here are some educational efforts that are worth mentioning in this regard:
The Barefoot College
The need to learn and implement self-sufficiency became evident soon after India gained independence from the United Kingdom. In the late 1960s, a group of educators realized that people migrating from rural communities to the big cities was creating a “brain drain” situation. These educators decided to move into the rural communities that were losing their brightest members. The idea was to find smart solutions to matters related to clean water, energy, waste, nutrition, education, and nature conservation. This effort grew into the Barefoot College, a non-profit that has been recognized by the Government of India as an important educational source for communities that seek to become self-sufficient.
Sarva Seva Farms
In 2001, an Italian non-profit and charitable agency financed the purchase of cattle for the purpose of giving women of the Dindigul district an economic opportunity to run a sustainable business. The women look after the dairy cows as part of a family-run enterprise that sells milk and other products to a local distributors. Needless to say, these women first concentrate on producing enough dairy for their families before engaging in commerce.
The Village of Mawlynnong
In the early years of the 21st century, this village was recognized by Discover Magazine as the cleanest in India. Cleanliness and tidiness are skills taught to children from the first grade and through the secondary education. They also learn to cook, fish, and hunt in a manner that does not create waste or litter. There are not too many concrete buildings in this town because residents prefer more sustainable construction materials such as bamboo and wood harvested from reforestation projects. Tourism and sustainable agriculture are the main industries.
In the end, teaching self-sufficiency will continue to benefit rural communities and children across India as the country progresses towards sustainable development.
Author: Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.