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Aruna and Bunker Roy: Two Approaches for Transformative Development

  • Aruna Roy is a recipient of Magsaysay award – valued as the Asian Nobel prize – for community leadership and international understanding. In 1990, she set up the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathana (MKSS), a group which is a working example of a transparent organization, and which was very instrumental in getting the Rajasthan Right to Information Bill passed. The MKSS built a grassroots movement that has triggered broad debate and a nationwide demand for the public’s right to scrutinize official records – a crucial check against arbitrary governance. Aruna Roy requested that her award be given to the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathana, but was informed that it was only given to individuals. She put the award money into a trust to support the process of democratic struggles.
  • Sanjit “Bunker” Roy is an Indian social entrepreneur who, in 1972, established the Social Work and Research Centre, now known as the Barefoot College, to train the rural poor in occupations such as engineers, health workers and teachers, which will benefit and improve the lives of their communities. For more than three decades Bunker has been a leading figure in the Indian NGO community, and continues to be a source of inspiration to many social activists. In 2002, he was selected to receive the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship award; he received the Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy, often dubbed the ‘Green Oscar’ in 2003; and in 2005 he received the Skoll Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship Award.

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