It is true that education is the foundation of a good society, no? Education comes in many forms; starting with learning from our elders, steadily gaining experience, studying at conventional schools… the list goes on.
Over time, the education system in India has been distorted, often resembling a commercialized assembly line – the “One Size Fits All” approach limiting choices. People have lost the ability to think independently. Who are those most affected by this? The rural population, or rather, the Uninitiated – lacking a support structure.
Providing just that, filling this void with support, Project DEFY was born: aiming to bring education to unprivileged people, customizing their learning according to their needs. This is how Project DEFY wants to initiate the Uninitiated, envisioning equal participation from both urban and rural citizens.
Students learning and cheering how the self-built quadcopter flies.
For Project Defy, it all began as a small experiment in 2014. In Banjarapalya, located on the southern outskirts of Bangalore, in a modest room equipped with a few laptops where local children came to play games. The internet was not the only attractive activity drawing these children, soon they started collecting old broken items found in their homes.
With some electronic components and a few hand tools provided to them, the children slowly began turning these items into bricolages of small robots and crafts. Since then, participants of any age engage in a customized setting: “Nooks;” these nooks are safe, collaborative and explorative spaces. Project DEFY has now gained traction with centers in Mangalore, Kochi (both in India) and Uganda.
An Air Boat made by one of the students consisting of discarded materials such as coke bottle, 2 motors, a laptop battery, and a propeller from a toy fan
The bottom line is this: education is a must for every human, but it needs to be adapted to an individual’s preferences. Project DEFY wishes to communicate that people have a choice – they can learn according to their interests, at their own pace. By giving them an opportunity to (re)discover themselves, they stand out both individually and at a collective level – using their innovations for the common good.
Project DEFY: embarking on a journey to defy popular beliefs, confident that this is the way forward.