Director: Annemie Maes
Duration: 00:03:07; Aspect Ratio: 1.738:1; Hue: 349.569; Saturation: 0.129; Lightness: 0.372; Volume: 0.130; Cuts per Minute: 5.440
Sita Devi is a singer. Together with four other young Rajasthani women, she started the solar cooker section of Barefoot College (http://www.barefootcollege.org
Some years ago she decided to start a 6 months training as solar panel engineer, and she continued her education with a focus on solar cookers.
Today the women are responsible for the construction of the large parabolic dishes, covered with regular pieces of mirror.
They tailor them precisely according to the blueprints of a German Engineer, Wolfgang Scheffler, with whom they still collaborate and improve the reflectors and machinery when needed.
They organise their smithy, weld and solder the mechanical parts for the cookers out of recycled bicycle parts. Their apparatus are sold to organisations in India who use them in community kitchens.
For more on the Politics of Change project, see http://pad.ma/TF/info
For the finished film 'Mahila', see http://pad.ma/TL/info
Technology is a valuable input for social transformation, but the most important force is human agency and creativity: the microlevel initiatives and everyday activities of real human beings.
In the context of the Politics of Change project, I had interviewed Sita Bai (22, solar engineer) with the aid of a questionnaire (http://pad.ma/TF
). Her responses are below:
Sita Bai :
In the villages there still is a lot of discrimination. On the level of castes, on the level of male dominance.
There are many clashes with the vllagers. As I'm from a lower cast, they don't allow me to eat with them. They even don't let me sit next to them. Or come close to dried cow dung.
Than they say that I spoil their fuel.
The villagers are also jealous. They see that I educated myself and that I became an independent lady.
I wonder where all this fuzz about high and low castes comes from. After all we are all the same human beings.
My village is close to the Jawaja fieldcenter. I heard they were setting up a solar energy system overthere that would supply electricity to our villages.
So I decided to go there and learn. At the fieldcenter they told me I had to follow the 6 months training at Barefoot College. That's how I arrived in Tilonia.
Finishing the solar training I wanted to learn more. At Barefoot they offered me to follow a supplementary training to build solar cookers. I agreed immediately.
Leaving my village I spoke only Marwari. Now I speak Hindi as easily as Marwari and I understand also some English. Before I couln't even hear the difference between English and Hindi. I studied till the 5th grade and English wasn't taught.
My English I learnt from collaborating with the foreigners visiting Barefoot.
I'm very happy I found a job. And that I progressed from solar energy to solar cookers.
Inside the college-structure we have our own cooperative for the production and sales of the cookers. They are bought by other communities. They were installed for use in community kitchens in Sikkim and Assan, and also in Rajasthan. You can find some on this campus.
In my eyes there's a big difference between the village and the college.
At Barefoot there is no difference between men and women. There is no discrimination or untouchability as there is in the villages.
And I have more possibilities now to sing my songs. I'm a singer of devotionals. In the village I'm referred to as the devotional singer. I love to sing and god fulfilled my desire. He makes me sing in public every month or to. Because singing is my life!