Solar Mamas

9:00pm Sunday 2 December on BBC FOUR

Solar Mamas follows the remarkable story of Rafea – a mother of four from Jordan who challenges the status quo of her traditional marriage by travelling to India to train as a solar engineer for six months.

Along with 27 other mothers and grandmothers from poor communities around the world – many of whom are illiterate – she will learn the skills needed to bring electricity and light back to her village.

For Rafea, this will be a life-changing journey. As the second wife of a Bedouin husband living in a remote part of the Jordanian desert, she has had limited opportunities in life. Now she has been selected to attend the Barefoot College in India run by the inimitable Roy Bunker. Alongside women from Kenya, Burkina Faso and Colombia, and across cultural and language divides, Rafea will need to get to grips with electrical components, circuit boards and soldering. Rafea’s new knowledge will see her do things she never imagined, but it will also have an unanticipated effect on her relationship with her patriarchal husband.

Addressing themes of education, gender equality, environmental sustainability and development, Solar Mamas is an inspiring and compelling look at poverty – and the ways women around the world are working to pull themselves out of the poverty trap.

A BBC Storyville film, produced in partnership with The Open University, Solar Mamas will screen as part of Why Poverty? – when the BBC and the OU, in conjunction with more than 70 broadcasters around the world, will host a debate about contemporary poverty.

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