Rafea: Solar Mama (formerly Barefoot Engineers)

Noujaim Films presents Rafea: Solar Mama an intimate cinema verite film which follows the life-changing journey of six women from rural villages in Africa, the Middle East and South America to Bunker Roy's Barefoot College in India where they will become solar engineers and return to install solar energy in their own and surrounding villages.

Solar Grandmothers will interweave Bunker Roy's work on the international scene-- taking his message to opinion leaders, raising money, challenging conventional wisdom regarding poverty eradication at global conferences - with the women's local struggles. These personal struggles range from convincing their families and villages that they should travel to India to take the six-month engineering course and challenging accepted power structures regarding women's roles, to finally, overcoming adversity while doing good for their communities. The film will also highlight the communion of these women from different parts of the world who learn from each other and grow together in ways they may never have envisioned. I would like for the film to be an entertaining film about what happens when grandmothers from around the world who have never left their villages gather together for 6 months to learn how to become solar engineers. Secondly, the Barefoot model has proven to be a successful way of achieving the Millennium Development goals from the ground up rather than from the top down. If this film inspires investment in the empowerment of women as individuals to change their lives, and the lives of the people in their villages I will consider it a successful venture.

Production team