Barli Development Institute for Rural Women
Our Manager Jimmy McGilligan awarded OBE
    James McGilligan (Jimmy) Manager of Barli Development Institute
    for Rural Women originally from Northern Ireland has been awarded
    an Order of British Empire  in Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday
    Honours list 2008. “For his services to social causes and the use of
    alternative energy in rural communities in India”, is the recognition of
    his dedicated service to the rural and tribal women in central India.
    Born near Garvagh, Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland UK  he has
    spent 20 years as Manager of Barli Development Institute for Rural
    Women, Indore in the State of Madhya Pradesh the multifaceted
    man has literally developed the Institute, takes care of logistics and
    maintenance, infrastructure development, gardens & food production,
    information technology, audio visuals, environmental education,
    development & transfer of solar technologies, research and
    development, rural technologies.
    For the last 10 years, he has been the pioneer in central India for manufacturing the large community solar kitchens in
    Madhya Pradesh with, ten meter square parabolic reflectors at the Institute, and installed then in tribal school hostels in
    Jhabua, Dattigaon, Dhani and an orphanage in Indore.
    More than 300 domestic parabolic cookers in use in rural and tribal communities, these are sources of livelihood in a
    village Nathudhana , and in another district Jhabua, the tribal women thank him for giving a technology which is “gender
    friendly” “more easy to use”, “more safe and hygienic than firewood”. For them to go to collect wood is not just
    walking long distances in search of wood, it is also a struggle because of the numerous threats that they encounter along
    the way. For instance, walking through isolated areas makes them vulnerable to abuse and rape. They also suffer mental
    and physical harassment from forest officials, who stop them under the garb of enforcing rules and regulations relating to
    trespassing. The way back home is even tougher, when these women have to carry heavy loads on their backs. This is
    the time when they face the greatest threat. The maximum numbers of rapes in these areas occur during this time, when
    the women stop for a while to drink water, rest or relieve themselves. Of late he has installed Solar Water heating
    systems, Solar Dryers, Solar Oven, Water Distiller and briquetting etc. Jimmy’s work to promote solar cooking is
    another integral part of the main goal of the Barli Development Institute - the empowerment of young women through
    education and training.
    Among 500 tribal communities, popularly loved and known as Jeejaji ( Brother in law) since 1988 when he married
    their didi (sister)Janak Palta McGilligan who was also, a Baha’i pioneer from Chandigarh, Punjab invited by National
    Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of India to establish the Institute For Rural women in Indore in, 1985 a Baha’i
    inspired NGO, is the centre of their world, their home and their work, their passion and the purpose of their life. British
    citizen, a land reclamation and drainage contractor, left his country in 1986 to work on reclamation of saline soils at
    Rabbani School near Gwalior and to serve the rural communities in India in responce to the call from the Baha’i World
    People who have seen the eco friendly Barli campus before and after his presence can only see how Jimmy has put his
    mind body and soul in to this Institute in it overall development that has contributed to the empowerment of more than
    4000 rural and tribal socially and economically disadvantaged young girls and women who have returned to their
    community’s as social change agents.
    The trainees are taught vocational skills, health, literacy and
    personal and environmental development with a
    systematically designed and published curriculum, are
    constantly monitored updated and improved. According to
    him it is very important for women to be educated and
    empowered in any society being the first educators of their
    children and their status should never be seen as secondary
    to that of men.
    Amongst many other challenges he had to rise to in India,
    learning to communicate in Hindi was perhaps one of the
    most essential. Jimmy has managed to learn by simply
    picking up Hindi He is modest about his language skills and
    jokes that he has been here for 20 years and still can’t speak
    Hindi, while the joke being that he makes this claim in Hindi.
    He gives credit of this honour to Barli Institute, all its
    trainees and the staff with whom he works.
Photo Above; Members of Jimmy's Family celebrating
near Limavady in Northern Ireland
Posted By Janak Palta McGilligan