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Initiating the Uninitiated

Banjarapalya

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.

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Written by Nora Hoffmann

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Nora Hoffmann
Social Media & GoodPowWow Editor, Majamba Sàrl, Switzerland

Besides working as Social Media & GoodPowWow Editor for Majamba, Nora is studying International Hospitality Management at the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne. The inspiring community of innovators led her to join the team last autumn to be part of this year’s GoodFestival. Her volunteering experience at an orphanage in Namibia inspired her to work for the benefit of others and always strive for positivity. With her optimistic nature and determination, Nora likes to spread a can-do attitude in her environment and encourage others to accomplish their aspirations.

Being a curious and open-minded person, Nora loves traveling and getting to know the “local way of living”. Speaking (or better still learning) five languages, she likes interacting with people from around the world and learning about their stories. On her trips, she is also looking for culinary adventures as she enjoys variety in any context. To calm her down after a busy week, she is always up for baking a sweet treat, heading out to nature or enjoying a drink with her friends.

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