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Rafea, Solar Mama

Documentary Film, Sundance Stories of Change


Story: Rafea is a Bedouin woman who lives with her daughters in one of Jordan’s poorest desert villages on the Iraqi border. She is given a chance to travel to India to attend the Barefoot College, where illiterate grandmothers from around the world are trained in six months to be solar engineers.

If Rafea succeeds, she will be able to electrify her village, train more engineers, and provide for her daughters. But, when she returns as the first female solar engineer in the country, her real challenge will have just begun.

Background: When Barefoot College founder and Skoll Social Entrepreneur Bunker Roy shared the stories of empowered grandmothers bringing the transformative power of light to their rural communities, he created a buzz of interest among documentarians on the lookout for a good story.

Jehane Noujaim (Control Room, didn’t wait for a commission. Jehane picked up her camera and headed to Africa to follow Roy, a distinguished-looking Indian, sell the opportunity become solar engineers in a village in Mali. With founding support from the Stories of Change partnership, the film was completed and became part of the global initiative Why Poverty? It was broadcast on 72 channels around the globe.

Watch The Complete Film Below: