Sanjit “Bunker” Roy

Published on October 19, 2017

Founder and Director, The Barefoot College | India

Sanjit “Bunker” Roy

Sanjit “Bunker” Roy considers his real education to have started after his formal schooling at St. Stephens College, when he dug open wells for drinking water as an unskilled laborer for five years. In 1972 he started the Barefoot College, inspired by the work and lifestyle of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Barefoot model is decentralized and demystified; rural grandmothers, most of them illiterate, are trained over six months to be solar engineers. The training takes places in sign language – no written or spoken language is used. Over the years these grandmothers have solar electrified 50,000 houses in more than 1,200 villages.

Roy gave a TED talk in Edinburgh in 2011 watched by 3.6 million viewers in 45 languages. In 2008 The Guardian identified Roy as one of 50 environmentalists who could save the planet. His many awards include The Schwab Foundation Award for Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs (2002), The Skoll Foundation Award (2005), The Asian Excellence Award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2011) and a Clinton Global Citizen Award (2013). In 2010 Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Roy was India’s National Squash Champion in 1965, 1968 and 1971.


Watch Sanjit "Bunker" Roy's keynote speech on “Six Key Insights Driving the Future of Quality of Life”.

Read the article on the Panel Discussion focused on Students: “How Innovative Ecosystems in Education Impact the Learning Experience” to which he participated.

View the other speakers of the 2017 Quality of Life Conference.