This profile was prepared when Samanta Barua was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1993.
The New Idea
Samanta Bhadra Barua has developed a program that integrates vocational training with literacy and development education. This twofold approach provides a combination of motivational forces that encourage and enable adults to learn. He was able to develop a literacy curriculum specifically to meet the needs and resources of adult Bangladeshis based on extensive research he has conducted on adult populations in villages throughout Bangladesh. Samanta Bhadra realizes that merely providing literacy to Bangladeshi adults is not enough; people must also be given incentives to attain literacy and reason to use that newly acquired skill in their lives and workplaces. Literacy goes hand in hand with other development projects. Thus Samanta Bhadra's literacy programs work on developing the whole individual through skill development, vocational training and health awareness. His students leave Swanirvar able to adapt to a variety of situations and to find more rewarding employment.