Solar Mamas

Solar Mamas

2012, Society  -   76 Comments
Ratings: 8.74/10 from 74 users.

An inspiring film about one woman's attempt to light up her world. Rafea is an uneducated Bedouin mother from the Jordanian desert.

She gets the chance to go to the Barefoot College, where middle-aged women from poor communities train to become solar engineers, and bring power to their communities.

The college brings together women from all over the world. But learning about electrical components without being able to read, write or understand English is the easy part. Rafea is forced to risk everything, including losing her children, if she wants to complete the course.

Women make up half the world's population and yet represent a staggering 70% of the world's poor. Of the world's 875 million illiterate adults, two-thirds are women.

Women work two-thirds of the world's working hours, produce half of the world's food, but earn only 10% of the world's income and own 1% of the world's property. On average, women earn half of what men earn.

More great documentaries

76 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Andie

    The film has much to say. It's informative and motivating indeed. Many thanks for highlighting the inside problems of people like Rafea. She may be the model for many of us.

  2. mette Hoffmann Meyer

    can somebody from TOPDOCUMETNARYFILMS WRITE ME - we are confused about this page as the text from Solar Mama - that we own - is connected to Banaz - honor killing - very confusing

  3. Dan

    Content from WhyPoverty - not viewable in USA?!?!?! What is that all about?

  4. Maria

    Best documentary I've watched. This proves that given the opportunity most people can achieve a lot.

  5. 31jetjet

    Some of the older women you see towards the end have face tattoos reminiscent of another doc I watched here called "Grandma's Tattoos"

  6. 31jetjet

    He (husband) says as they sit in the tent "You are not going anywhere" her response? "Whatever". Love to see her come alive after 27:00.

  7. Diana Adams

    This is beyond fantastic. The ability for human learning is not limited to race, gender, age or other characteristics, which some people use to keep othet human beings down and exploit them. Just imagine the potential wasted in this world of inequality and prejudices and weep... Just imagine what would happen if we connect all those human brains together, the tremendous power of it... we would have probably colonized the solar system by now.

  8. Pedro Moreira

    WHat about teaching these people on HOW TO READ IN THE FIRST PLACE!? Those classes seemed like a voluntary assembly production line. Show them how to assemble a circuit in a language they don't understand for 6 months and make them engineers..
    I do understand that empowering women to achieve great things other than give birth and beeing beaten is great, yes, but I don't believe that the lack of solar panels is the real issue here.
    Barefoot collage... That could only come from India. Altough India has one of the highest percentages of highly educated people in the world, that doesn't make them good at what they do, and this the mere prove of that. Engineeeerrrrsssss!!!!??? Because they assembled a circuit board? Get real NGO!

    What a facade documentary. I would surely would like to see how these women are doing today and if by chance a dimmed light during the night made theme life better. Bet they are still in the desert, being treated by a chauvinistic f--ktard wife-beating husband.

    Best of luck 3 world. Honestly...

    1. Guruprasad

      Hi Pedro,

      I reckon that at best I am appalled by your comments...I LIVE in India your so called 3rd world and can tell you I would rather empower a person to make a social change than red a McDonald sign.....This is true empowerment, i guess someone who thinks they know the world just because they have understood theirs needs to travel, meet people and interact to understand the world better. Also, using nomenclatures does not make one a good needs substance to argue.

    2. Bill Farley

      I don't support your negative attitude. Of course they needed to read and write, but the way I see it, from little acorns mighty oak trees grow. It is a start. The star of this documentary is to be admired for her dedication and tenacity. What a beautiful soul. May her life be one of happiness and prosperity.

  9. JtothaP

    By simply reading about this documentary i expected it be boring an not of interest to me, instead I found it to be one of the most inspirational documentary's I have ever seen.

    These women prove that if you put your mind to something, then even against overwhelming odds you can achieve something great.

    Please remember it is not only the women who deserve credit here but also those men who were prepared to go against the prejudices in their society to give these women a chance.

    This is the real way of fixing inequality in Arab, African and other 3rd world country's. Those of us who are lucky enough to come from a fortunate and educated background need to start investing more time and money into projects like this who offer long term solutions to target the fabric of society and empower people by giving them relevant life skills to the modern world, instead of investing our money into short-term aid relief which cannot offer a long term solution.

  10. joe johnson

    2 points that are the key to this:
    1st solar power lights so at night people can read and learn thus get educated
    2nd empowering woman to be more than baby machines.
    Both are important for the long term survival of this planet.

  11. KsDevil

    I would hardly call learning to assemble and construct a solar charging system qualifies as becoming an engineer. After all, these women did not design the circuits.
    That being said.
    The effort required to go from an uneducated culture, with little imagination and chauvinist controls, to learning everything needed to assemble a solar charging system surrounded by a language foreign to them does require merit. Even in first world countries people surrounded by the highest of technology are not intuitive electronic assemblers...they still have to be taught.
    If nothng else, sitting around the hut assembling circuit assemblies for an NGO sure beats sitting around the hut doing little but listening to a lazy good-for-nothing husband.

  12. silkop

    Why poverty? Because of stupidity enforced by religion. And because of the five daughters, who are results of the former two.

    1. Sertsis

      Why poverty?... because that is where she was born! Watch this doc. again, She didn't bow to the stupidity.

  13. Claudy Strickland

    wisdom is not yet part of our world. When will it be? Children education should aim at seeing that shunting the world from half its thinking force (women) is a real nonsense. Let's hope that the future generations will see to that.

    Physical power is still too venerated .
    claudy poumirau

  14. Claudy Strickland

    wisdom is not yet part of our world. When will it be? Children education should aim at seeing that shunted the world from half its thinking force (women) is a real nonsense. Let's hope that the future generations will see to that.

    Physical power is still too venerated .

    Claudy Poumirau

  15. David Ewer

    Illuminating and thought-provoking doc - also very moving. Although Raouf (at the ministry) said male dominance was "An Eastern thing" it was and is a Western thing as well in many ways.

    The future is female - or there won't be a future...

    1. oQ

      I personaly think the future should be governed by politicians of equal genders BUT by people of the age of 30-45yrs. Those are the people who have their future at heart for themself, for their children and for their parents.
      If it was made a law, it would change the world faster than any other options.
      Men and Women working together...i often say the M of men and the W of women makes a double pyramid, like 2 diamonds!


  16. Sertsis

    An amazing doc. about an amazing woman. Beyond that I am speechless.

  17. AntiTheist666

    In this doc Rafea’s husband acts like a spoiled brat who doesn’t get his way. His threats and stroppy behaviour at a time when she needed help and support is really hard to stomach and almost ruined the chance for the whole village to benefit. Does his cultural/religious upbringing give him some mitigation here? I hope so because unfortunately I have been guilty of acting like a male chauvinist pig in the past and didn’t even notice. The old ideal of the man as breadwinner and head of the household was something that I was brought up on. Nowadays it seems so plainly wrong it’s hard to imagine how such an idea was so prevalent at the time but that was the view of many of my generation.

    It wasn’t until our kids were born that I realised my ideas of a happy household were built on sand and not the least bit logical or productive. I cringe when I think back. I used to believe that because I had a good, well paid job and worked long hours, when I got home it was feet up time. I think I should add that there was almost a fashion among men at the time to brag about how useless they were about the house, added machismo maybe? I wasn’t one of them but I was pretty useless. I thought a modern man occasionally put the Hoover on and made her a cup of tea every now and then.

    So when the rug rats appear I get a MASSIVE wakeup call and begin to appreciate what women have to put up with. I had no clue it was that hard. I told my ex-wife this after just one weekend of being left in charge of the ravenous monsters and endless household chores. I also told her that she must be crazy if she thinks she could do another job as well. I couldn’t do it. Anyway she did want to go back to work; she had a career to follow too. We didn’t need the money though; the motivation was her independence and development. It’s just my opinion but it was so clear to me then that mum and dad need breaks from traditional family roles. Well we made a plan that worked so well those days of being left in charge are among the happiest of my life.

    Men, if you haven’t walked a mile in these amazing creatures’ shoes your criticism will sound terribly hollow. Especially in nine inch heels. We primitive males owe this superior sex for thousands of year’s worth of injustice and exploitation which sadly still goes on today. I’m all for celebrating any small victory in this ongoing war. Rafea has shown women everywhere what can be achieved with the right mindset, bullying males beware!

    The Crucified One

  18. Jeremy Hughes

    I have a new hero to look up to. Anytime anyone in the first world says, what do we need 'blacks' for, this is why. Small victories, day by day.

    Labels. DO YOU GET IT YET?

    .... Seriously....

    I play wow and I don't understand the world........ ugh.

    1. Kateye70

      So you're choosing to apply stereotypes...I *do* get it.

      I also get where you're coming from.

    2. Kateye70

      All this nitpicking over one word aside, do you have any comments on what you saw in the video?

      From my PoV, I was inspired to see a ray of positive hope in the program featured in the documentary, as I've expressed to other posters on this topic, and am thinking through a course of action for myself.

      I know there are people suffering around the world, men, women, children. I'm very interested in the micro-loan projects that give people control over their own lives.

      So what are your thoughts? Are you inspired to do anything? What might that be?

      Serious questions, and I'm truly interested to hear your thoughts, on those or any others that might have been raised for you.

    3. Jeremy Hughes

      I really thought it was good, very moving, very insightful, my fiance and I both watched it and I can honestly say both of us had tears in our eyes several times realizing how easy we have it and how hard life appears to be over there.

      But at the end of it I did not look at her and say something like "Wow, women can do things!"

      And to be honest, I don't really care, I mean, I do, but the MAIN reason I even brought this up is because like I said, if I made the same post just with "man" instead of "woman" I'd have been slandered mercilessly by a multitude of angry people.

      Now you could say that I'm just as bad as those people, but it appears as if that is the direction society is moving. If I were to enter a room dominated by females, and exclaim "what's up guys!" I will get aggravated stares and responses like "um... we're not guys..." followed by a "you're effing mentally deficient" gaze, even though I did not think it out that way or mean to imply it the way they took it, obviously they are not actually "guys". If I enter a roomful of men and exclaim "What's up ladies!" the reply is "Hey" or "Sup?" no one get's angry, no one feel's they have been denigrated because we do not see WOMEN as a bad thing and only the most juvenile people call others gender names as an actual insult, 4th graders maybe? e.g. "what ARE you a GIRL?!"

      I prefer to think of men and women as evolving humans. Nothing more, nothing less.

      I'm not calling you old (according to the high schooler's I'm now considered old... another great bullshyt stereotype = ) but my Grandfather has this same issue, but... much worse. I believe it's more of a habit or a symptom of social norms during the majority of one's lifetime; he still say's things like "colored folk" "fairy" and "jew nose" and when people give him the stink eye he is completely confused. I try to explain to him that people don't talk like that anymore unless they are from the south, he's from the south, so he doesn't understand, at all, like, not even slightly, he just stares at you dumbfounded and does not even see why people would find these statements offensive. "but they are colored! I don't understand the world anymore...thing's used to be so simple" I personally think they used to be more complicated, now the social order is so simple that some people just wish it was more dominated and they maintain this illusion of man vs woman ideology and reform it through male/female stereotypes and movements like the feminist party when in fact the changes are already happening, it's just common sense awakening in a more enlightened than ever society, it's not because of Feminists that people changed, it's because brain sizes have gotten bigger and exploded populations have forced people to live together and co inhabit which will inevitably lead to closer ties and less sexism/racism/nationalism etc.

      For every movement in history is painted as being led by a great leader or noble individual that changed the world, however, this is untrue in my opinion, this one voice just happened to say what was ALREADY happening in the minds around him, the people were already there mentally otherwise they would not have supported this change.

      All the power to the individuals in this film, they have found a way to overcome some of the odds in this life, and for that I feel that should empower everyone, not just women. Men can take this as a lesson or ode to the fact that women are not helpless and just as capable as anyone else OR they can sit back and not be surprised like some m*ron awakening from the matrix by the fact that "we're all the same and equally capable." I guess it's all in how you view "humans" and whether you think men and women are equal. I do.

    4. Jeremy Hughes

      (previous post still being authorized by mods, but I realized I didn't answer part of your question)

      My thought's on fixing situations is simple but implementation will be key.

      Science. That's all. Along with Common sense and rigid research / testing of course : )

      In some years we have discovered ways of harnessing energy that *doesn't destroy the planet, we discover medical breakthrough's that change the course of disease and virus, we find ways to produce all the goods and foods that we need via automated process run by machines off of the energy source we now have, and we find a way to make a monetary system that actually works (it's possible... i do believe it is) we will be set free from most of our issues and problems we currently face. I foresee space programs that spread *us further into the cosmos(without genociding anyone else's planet of course), which will be a whole other feat in itself. I do see it happening, as long as we focus on things that really will change the scene. I know it sounds kind of like the Venus project, I have no idea how it will actually work in practice, but I'm sure cavemen would have scoffed at a working world run by paper money and coins. Social evolution baby, bring it, it's time for a change, good or bad, because the only way we will ever find a system or system of systems that works, is by actually testing new theories.

      As long as it's a better dystopia than this one, I'm looking forward to it.

  19. AntiTheist666

    This is such an inspiring and heart warming documentary. Rafea’s bravery and determination in the face of such difficulty is so life affirming and enriching it gave me the tiniest bit of hope for humanity. Any woman who feels that she is not equal to a man or who has a domineering partner can take heart from this empowering film. Like a lot of other posters it left me wanting to know more like who was the daddy and what was she thinking? 10/10 loved it I wanna be a Solar Papa.

    1. Kateye70

      I've got a reply waiting for moderation with a link to the Barefoot College website. yes, it's inspiring!

    2. AntiTheist666

      Thanks for the link, I had a good look around. Lots more inspiring stuff there, water solutions, education, activism etc. I didn’t see any mention of Rafea but there is still more to explore.

      I thought these points were worth copying as they epitomise the spirit of the place.

      A centre of learning and unlearning
      Where the teacher is the learner and the learner a teacher;
      Where everyone is expected to keep an open mind, try new and crazy ideas, make mistakes and try again;
      Where even those who have no degrees are welcome to come, work and learn;
      Where those are accepted who are not eligible for even the lowest government jobs;
      Where tremendous value is placed on the dignity of labour, of sharing and those are willing to work with their hands;
      Where no certificates, degrees or diplomas are given.

      Overall the site was as uplifting and inspiring as the documentary, thanks again.

    3. Kateye70

      You're welcome =) I found it at work and didn't have time to do much more than watch the video I linked and glanced at some of the pages, but I want to find out more. I've thought about donating to a micro-loan bank, but need to research first.

      The founder mentioned in his video that they specifically did NOT want degree'd people taking over and doing the work *for* the attendees.

      That's what I love about it--I've always been annoyed by the elitist attitude *some* people in academia have that the only knowledge worth having is what they obtained at their institution(s) of choice. I've always been a self-learner, attending many a non-credit course.
      So, yea, I like the attitude at this place that "illiterate" does not mean "stupid."

      P.S. thanks for the vote of confidence!

    4. Jeremy Hughes

      Just imagine you stumble across a video about a man from the Philippines that had helped himself and his surrounding peoples in a drastic and motivating way and then you read this comment from some random first world male :

      "I have a new hero to look up to. Anytime anyone in the first world says, what do we need 'misogyny' for, this is why. Small victories, day by day."

      Maybe I like totally mis-read what you were trying to get across, but, I don't think I did. I just don't understand the "ra ra female hear me roar" thing, makes it "seem" as if you like to divide and separate despite all of your "I'm not being sexist" talk.

      Also, I watched the documentary, and I thought it was great, and as I said before, maybe I'm out of line, but I know for a fact that most women would be angered by that ^ line I quoted. You know it's true, been on tumblr lately? That would result in I'd guess 40,000+ angry responses, and I'd have to agree with them, it's easier to see maybe if you replace "mysogyny/feminism" with "black" or "hispanic" or ANY other race you'll see what I mean.

    5. oQ

      I can see where you're coming from but feminism when used in third world countries is not comparable to misogyny.
      It has nothing to do with hating a gender, it has to do with not accepting a confining role for the benefit of the whole family, husband included.

    6. Kateye70

      Yes. You totally misinterpreted what I meant. You had a knee-jerk reaction to a word. Now you're equating it with misogyny.

      Here's the definition of the two terms from the Merriam Webster online dictionary:

      fem·i·nism noun ?fe-m?-?ni-z?m
      1. the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
      2. organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests

      mi·sog·y·ny noun m?-?sä-j?-n?

      Definition of MISOGYNY
      1. a hatred of women

      Origin of MISOGYNY
      Greek misogynia, from misein to hate + gyn? woman

      All I was trying to do was express that yes, women still need equality in many parts of the world.

      Edit: Replace the word "feminism" with "equality" and re-read my sentance. =)

      Edit: Removed irritated sentence, I try not to be that way!

    7. Kateye70

      "been on tumblr lately?" No, I've never been to that site. I did look it up though.

      According to wiki, "As of December 27, 2012, Tumblr had over 86.8 million blogs and more than 39.0 billion total posts."

      You're quoting 40,000 responses to a quote, and yet "As of July 2012, 71.6 million posts were created on the site each day." So 40,000 responses is only 0.00056 of one day's responses. 86,000,000 blogs is a *lot* to read!

      And finally, "The service is most popular with the teen and college-aged user segments with half of Tumblr's visitor base being under the age of 25."

      So I guess I'm right that we're a few generations apart. However, now that you've made me aware of it, I'll check it out, so thanks for the recommendation!

      BTW, I play WoW and am the oldest member of my raiding guild. I interact with young people all the time, most of whom have no idea I'm so much older than them.

    8. Jeremy Hughes

      I did not say I agree with the Tumblr users, I just was using it as an example. My point, and you still seem to be missing it, is that *regardless* of the point you were trying to make, the *way* it reads makes you look like a femini-nazi, sorry, and if I made the same type of post on any popular social media site I would have women searching out my address, posting pictures from google of my house, and a womanly call to the other crazy women to come find me and "put me in my place" including threats of physical violence, why do I know this? Because I see it play out daily on social networks.

      I dunno, this will be my last post, but a final comparison, maybe this will help the "elders" in this crazy new world, but um, if I am a 30 year old healthy US citizen, that plays WoW, and somehow doesn't KNOW that misogyny and feminism are THE SAME THING (seperation of genders through a tiered up system of repression and anger at the opposite sex for "real" or "imagined" impositions and trespasses) kind of makes me an out of touch m*ron. Feminism is not Women's rights, Sorry, but it's not. Feminism see's men as disabling agents of scum, mentally incompetent and incapable of understanding the "female" plight. I sleep next to a woman, I work just as many hours as she does, yet for some reason she doesn't think she should EVER have to do dishes or laundry, because she works, so I do it. Women these days think they are infallible, just look at the hokey defense several people have thrown up for this Kat woman.

      "Uhhhhh... It's totally not sexist, uhhh... cuz... uhhh.. .a woman said it. And uhhhh... it's africans, so it doesn't count.. .uhhh, hold on let me go find my brain real fast... uhhhh"



      really? ....

    9. Kateye70

      Clearly the idea of what feminism is means something totally different to me than it does to you. But now I understand--you're right, it's a generational view of what a word means.

      I don't consider myself either racist or sexist, so you'll just have to take my word for it--I didn't mean it that way! And btw, my father, who was born in 1906, was the one who gave me those values. So, it's not just generational, I think its also what we learn and are exposed to as we're growing up. He would never have considered himself a feminist, but he certainly treated me and my sisters as if he were.

      As someone who plays WoW I see misogyny all the time in trade chat, laugh at most of it and ignore the rest (ok, I admit to occasional trolling). I don't know what server you may be on (assuming you play at all) but feminism doesn't come up much on mine, because girls don't play WoW, amirite?

      Moving on! Thanks for your other responses. I really wish the rest of the world saw men and women as being equally capable, but unfortunately, that isn't the case. In societies like the one in the doc, people are still very firmly in their traditional gender roles.

      I think the level of global communication now available makes it harder and harder to defend the old ways. But it's a slow chipping away and a finding of ways that make a difference without causing widespread panic--bottom-up improvements rather than top-down dictation. Slower, but more effective in the end, I think.

      The failure of the "one laptop for every child" program illustrates the problem of simply giving technology without also considering the implementation of its use or the context it will be used in. An example of "top-down" giving, with the assumption that the technology was the answer, when it is really the people who are. The old adage, "Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and he feeds himself for a lifetime" is true on so many levels.

      Which is where programs like the Barefoot College one come in. As you said, it's all in the implementation. I think the genius in the program is that it is taking the kind of useful technology previously thought of as too 'delicate' or too 'advanced' for poor rural areas and countries, and making it both accessible and viable.

      I sure hope your predictions about space travel come true. It's the only reason I would want to be reincarnated.

    10. Jeremy Hughes

      I really like the idea of the barefoot college, I checked into it as well. An approach that should be more publicized, I can definitely see the long term benefits.

  20. Jo McKay

    wonderful. inspiring. honest. "why train women? b/c they will stay"...empowerment is complete when 'we' embrace it. also a very good example of patriarchy as power and control - it is nothing to do with 'culture' or 'tradition' and everything to do with selfishness, ego, and power over...when good people (of any gender) awaken to this,the demands for equality in practice can not be silenced, no matter that 'some men' are still resistant.

    1. oQ

      I agree with most of what you write especially ""why train women? b/c they will stay" and i would add ...have a more direct influence on the children as they are most often the caretaker.
      But i think it does have to do with culture and tradition and also the size of the families.

  21. oQ

    I can just imagine what it must be like for a woman of Jordan or an African country to choose for herself for once instead of thinking about the man or the children.
    Had she not gotten the "travel sting" during an entire month among the women, she would possibly not have wanted to go back.
    I too would be so interested in finding out the personal story of the other women.
    Funny, i have been nicknamed the barefoot lady for the last 25yrs or so.

    1. Jack1952

      I got the impression that the husband had little to do with her decision to go back to India but the children had a significant role in that decision. I think she saw this as not only an opportunity for herself but for her entire family. For the long term it was the best thing for her children. I believe she knew this and it was part of the decision process. She chose for herself as well as for her children.

      I can't think of anything positive to say about that husband of hers so it's best I say nothing at all.

    2. oQ

      For having traveled in Jordan and West Africa, i can say that men and women (especially those who live in Berber tents or mud huts) sure have defined roles in those countries and those who try to step aside from the ordinary and aim for a more productive future are rarely supported.
      She was lucky to be picked for this project but most of all the project was lucky to have picked a woman with courage, ambition and her direct family support (mom and dad).
      Women are not only controlled by their husbands in such decision but strongly restrained by their own father, father in law or village chief.

    3. Kateye70

      That's interesting, that you have a first-hand view of the situation there from a woman's PoV.

      One thing about Rafea is that she seemed to be top in her class even having been gone for 2 months out of the six, due to her husband's lack of support. I think she must have been picked by the Ministry official to do this because of her obvious ability to learn as well as her determination to better her family's circumstances. They did say in the doc that her village of 300 had 100% unemployment.

      It's sad that such an innate intelligence was left uneducated--she lamented that her own 14-year-old daughter was forced to leave school at 10, and had nothing to occupy her until she was old enough to marry.

      I wish we had learned more about her particular village and the circumstances of her marriage, as well as the outcome of the village's new industry--but that wasn't the focus of the doc, obviously. it would probably have to be a whole mini-series!

  22. athenathene

    Don't know if I'm going to make time for this documentary - but could anyone who has taken the time be kind enough to point me to where they might have gotten the stats for the description?

    1. oQ

      Make the time if you have extra, it's time well spent.

    2. Jo McKay

      status of women. I do recommend u watch the doc.

  23. Jeremy Hughes

    Why do "we" discuss women in general as if they are handicapped. TO me, reading these comments, it's like listening to old people talk about what a woman "can and can't" do, come on people, she's just a human being, stop making this into some sexist bull shyt.

    1. dewflirt

      Obviously women CAN do anything, in some places its a question of whether or not they MAY, and whether or not they are prepared to pay the price for their disobedience.

    2. Jeremy Hughes

      Same for men, in a lot of places, here in the US a gay guy could get smashed on! up until recently just for being gay. My point is, why are all these women on here raving "femisist I am woman she is woman here us roar!" it's like listening to Fox viewers get all amped up on nationalist fervor "we are here, we are tea party, hear us roar!"

      My point is, I dunno, it's not a big deal, but... When I see a documentary about a man that does something good, I don't put on my masculinity armor and start spouting the wonders of Man and all that he is capable of as if it's some shining badge of honor.

      Once again, why can't this be about humans surviving in less than optimal conditions, instead of "we are woman RA RA!" I'd be just as proud if it was a mentally handicapped child, a person with 12 kids, a blind person, an ex child soldier, etc etc...

      Enough chest pounding, if we did it like the ladies do, they'd call us Chauvinists. I know this because I see it all the time.

    3. Kateye70

      From a video on the website, which shows a presentation by one of the Barefoot College's founders with the Dalai Lama:

      (After describing how he became involved in the inception of the College and how they first started training rural women)

      "...The important lesson we learned was that men are untrainable.
      "Men are restless.
      "Men are ambitious.
      "Men are compulsively mobile...(asides with Dalai Lama)
      "...and they all want a certificate.

      (More asides, as the founder has a college education! --He's an inspiration himself.)

      "And the moment you give them a certificate...they will leave the village in one day and look for a job in the city.

      "So for me, the best investment are grandmothers."
      (He goes on to explain why.)

      Well worth a watch.

    4. Jeremy Hughes

      You're just coming off more and more sexist, and what does the Lama's name have to do with anything? That guy and his people would love for nothing more than to bring back the Lama leadership and entrench his nation in another religious back-slide where men run everything, women are to be seen and not heard.

      (I know the lama speaks like he respects and praises women, but there is plenty of evidence available showing this is a front, that they simply need the support of the people to ever regain power)

      I recommend watching the Penn & Teller episode on the Lama and his followers, they say one thing, but they actually do something different every time they have had the chance to. Usually it doesn't end well for the poor or the women.

      @ you tube /watch?v=fYEOSCIOnrs

      Enjoy : )

    5. Kateye70

      I'm not sure why you think I'm sexist.

      The only reason i mentioned the Dalai Lama was because he was sitting on the stage with the founder and talking to him. (I *think it is Bunker Roy, but not sure--but he is a man!).

      I was just trying to share with you why *he* (Bunker Roy) decided to train the women in rural villages rather than the men. It wasn't my idea at all, and I take no credit for it.

      If being realistic about the hardships women endure, and empathizing with my own sex makes me "sexist" in your eyes, so be it.

      edit: I <3 Penn & Teller, and am well aware of the Dalai Lama's reputation troubles, lol.
      edit 2: the Dalai lama was mentioned in the video's title, is why I mentioned him at all.

    6. Kateye70

      I'm a huge charity skeptic, btw.

      There aren't too many programs I've heard of that are actually able to make a difference at the local level in poor countries. I know we've all heard the horror stories of various NGO's that rake in billions but pass along only pittances to the supposed objects of their fund-raising.

      The Barefoot College program, and the micro-loans programs, are the very few that I've heard of that take the whole society into account and have come up with a viable means of making a real difference at the local level.

      Not only that, they do it by empowering the people in need.

      No one likes to be the recipient of charity, and I applaud any effort that helps people to help themselves. (and that includes the men, too!)

    7. AntiTheist666

      Kateye70 sexist??? Don’t make me laugh Sid! You should stay in more. You’re protesting just a little too much for comfort.

    8. Jack1952

      The point is that in those countries it is a big deal for a woman to break away from the norm and the constraints of society. It is also important for the women in those third world countries to attain the freedom that, not only women, but all of us enjoy in the West. Until they do, the people of those nations will live in perpetual poverty. That is why the woman in this video deserves the accolades. Do not apply the Western extremist feminist Nazi ideology to what these women need to achieve. Their plight is real and important to us all.

    9. Jeremy Hughes

      I agree 100% and it's also exactly what I'm trying to point out. Don't you see the irony in some first world woman (essentially living in luxury compared to these women) singing the praises of feminism when the situation there is 10000% different than the world she faces... That was kinda my point, plus, and I have had more than a few friends read these last few posts since apparently I struck a chord, and they also agreed she sounds like a complete feminist man hater. Now, that may not have been what she was trying to convey, and if so, please forgive my misunderstanding, but that is certainly how it reads.

    10. Kateye70

      I'm going to guess that you and your friends are from a different generation than I am.

      I was never a 'radical' and my world view is one of 'moderation for all.'

      I truly hate that the least mention of the word 'feminism' is taken by younger generations to mean 'radical lesbian man-hating whiny b!tch' aka 'feminazi.'

    11. dewflirt

      Afternoon Jeremy, you should go and poke around the whypoverty dot net website, 70% of the world's poor are women. My maths isn't too good but I know that 70-30 is not as equal as 50-50 :)

  24. Pysmythe

    " I adore women. I think they are superior to men in almost every way. " - Sting
    I always did like Sting.

    1. AntiTheist666

      LOL I thought you said Stig!

  25. Kunaal Kajal

    Absolutely Amazing documentary, well worth watching and truly empowering, I am a male and watching these women do something incredible with their lives is awesome.

  26. dewflirt

    Smiled from beginning to end, beautiful. Now I'd like to see the stories of the other women also :)

    1. Kateye70

      It was so wonderful to see those women from different countries support and care for one another as they learned. I'd love to see where they all are now.

  27. Trevis Robotie

    mission impossible

    1. dewflirt

      Became mission possible :)

    2. Trevis Robotie

      just saw your comment now.....ahaha I give up!I actually commented before watching.....I was really impressed by these ladies-kudos

  28. Kateye70

    I have a new heroine to look up to. Anytime anyone in the first world says, what do we need 'feminists' for, this is why. Small victories, day by day.

    1. Edward Campbell

      We don't need men-hating Bolshevick so-called 'feminists' we need Equalists - particularly in 3rd world countries where there is a preponderant, unemployed male population.

      Where a man’s right to 'be a man' has been taken away, due to lack of investment and social unrest or civil war, and no economic or social support structure exists for young men.

      Hardly surprising that they fall back on outdated, chauvinistic social behaviour, when there is little else for them to do than to make their wives pregnant and have lots of children, in a lame effort to give themselves a sense of social status.

      Look at the USA -12.3 million unemployed and 2000+ domestic partner murders per annum - thanks to the 2nd Amendment. How would US males behave if its men were 50% unemployed, as in these 3rd world countries..? They would behave the same as the 3rd world desperate, suicide bombers and 'terrorists', I suggest.

      Men's aggression is usually sublimated into earning a living - outside of that; men get treated like a 5th wheel by society. Broad shoulders, a strong back, and a (presumed) thick head, according to some females.

    2. Pysmythe

      Let's hope that the best of the feminists are equalists.

      In 3rd world countries, though, I'm not too confident that any amount of modification in the attitude of a "feminazi" would make all that much difference to the plight of men in those places, at this point.

    3. Kateye70

      "men-hating Bolshevick so-called 'feminists'" whaaa??? where did you pick that idea up? get a grip! I'm using it in the real sense of women trying to take their rightful place *next* to their men, not above or below them. The idi*ts who think all feminists are 'feminazi's' have no idea how bad women have it in other cultures.

      Falling back on chauvinistic behavior is an excuse, not a solution. It's not just the men suffering in those counties, it's the women and children, too. Girls are made to quit school when they're 10, and have no way to learn a trade.

      If you actually watched this doc, the woman it focused on is the 2nd wife of a man who has no income and provides nothing to her except new babies--but is opposed to her learning a trade.

      I do wonder what the husband's earlier circumstances were that he felt capable of starting a complete second family, although he contributes nothing to their welfare.

      You *are* right that the men need employment, too. I did wonder whether the Ministry that sponsors the Barefoot College program has a similar one to address the men's lack of work.

    4. dewflirt

      'A mans right to be a man' does not include the right to behave like a spoiled brat when his wife is offered a chance to lift her family out of poverty. Should they continue to live as they are because his manly pride is hurt? And what of a womans right to be a woman? Good for nothing but dropping sprogs, baking pies and looking pretty according to some men. Not that I'm generalising or anything ;)

    5. oQ

      People's right are widening all over the world, but not so long ago even here in Canada a man's right was extremely powerful over a woman's right and vice versa in their own defined roles.
      It takes time and opportunities such as this one to change mentalities.
      It used to be an advantage for huge families that the wifes and daughters did certain chores and father and sons did others. This no longer works in families of 1 or 2 kids where people no longer live of the land.
      If i look around and examine women's right, i can see that unfortunately many women have made shopping for stuff, their right.
      Not that I'm generalising or anything ;)

    6. Jack1952

      Growing up, my father's word was law. My mother did as she was told. That's the way it was. It wasn't until almost thirty years into their marriage that my mother started to assert herself in a meaningful way. It angered and frustrated my father, but times had changed and he was forced to change with it...or live alone.

      Rafea was fortunate that she received the support from her father. I can't help but think that had he adamantly opposed her leaving for India, she would not have been able to go. She may well have faced an ostracism from her community and family that she was not prepared to deal with.

      The attainment of ordinary human rights does not necessarily mean one will use those rights and opportunities wisely. There are Western women who have demonstrated that they can be just as foolish and self destructive as their male counterparts.