They were heading to Barefoot College in India, where they would meet other women from all over the world and together train to become solar engineers.They learned to set up, install, maintain, and repair solar home systems.
At the beginning of 2017, five women from three villages in rural Myanmar boarded a plane for the very first time. They were heading to Barefoot College in India, where they would meet other women from all over the world and together train to become solar engineers. They learned to set up, install, maintain, and repair solar home systems using the universal languages of color coding, illustrated instructions, and repetition.
“We learned about all kinds of circuits and machines, but also about health and how to build useful things like stoves. I have never been away from my husband for more than one day in the past so I missed him dearly, but it is worth it to bring electricity to my home,” says Ma San Maw, another of the women who studied at Barefoot College.
“We have always had to worry about things like snakes when the light goes out. Now we can cook and sew without being scared.”
Finally in October 2017, after six long months thousands of miles from home (“and strange food,” says Ma San Maw, giggling), the women return. The reunification is warm— embraces, smiles, and tears in equal measure.
“We missed Mum a lot, but Dad cried more. Every day he hiked to the top of the mountain, where there is phone reception, to call her. I think he’s very happy she has come back,” says the eldest daughter of Naw Yoe Lay.
“My wife has finally returned, and she brings electricity for the whole community. I am very proud of her,” adds Naw Yoe Lay’s husband.