Project DEFY had a humble beginning in 2014, not just metaphorically but in reality. A small room, in a non-descriptive village on the outskirts of Bangalore, having no furniture, no equipment, no books, with plenty of junk, some basic tools. The only hitech items were one personal computer and an Internet connection to do an experiment in education. Soon the rooms were abuzz with boys and girls from the village, who had come there out of sheer inquisitiveness and curiosity which eventually led to learn by doing and making - the experiment was working. The room was getting filled with eager learners and the experiment turned into a project. Project DEFY had to be upgraded with more computers on priority. The founders had already exhausted their personal saving and funds raised through family & friends. Just when hopes were fading, there came a beacon of light in the form of LABDOO – The humanitarian social network made by people around the world providing technology to those in need purely for education.
Labdoo's assistance has enabled Project DEFY to grow from it's humble beginning. Project DEFY presently has THREE Nooks running. The first one in peri urban Bangalore in Kagallipura, the second one in a farming community of Mangalore and the third one has been built in partnership with SINA at Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda. Project DEFY within a short span of time has already some emerging micro entrepreneurs and leaders. Now there are more than 250 learners at all the nooks.
Plans are now afoot in setting-up a (the 4th) NOOK in Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, India. The objective here is to provide the community a space to reclaim the lost art and livelihood and to empower the local community to bring art & learning back and create a livelihood sustenance model.
Mattanchery, was once a thriving hub of art and creativity, a home to brilliant local artists who made livelihood from the art they created. As commercial tourism exploded, the area got pushed into abject poverty, where-in the same artists have sadly become truck loaders and other unorganised labourers. Today, you can see a distinct divide between the booming elitist art hub on the other side of the slums, while the community remains sunk in poverty.
The key take away in Project DEFY is the awesomeness of a human being's ability (particularly children) to learn on their own without having information thrust forcefully into them, as is the norm today. Provide them with the right resources, allow them to choose their own subjects and topics of interest and voilà!!!! we have INNOVATIONS…...The makers in the Nooks have even built robotic arms, phone controlled airplanes, arduino boats from scratch. Makers at our Mangalore Nook are building aquaponics projects at a small scale to replicate them as agricultural solutions for the larger farming community. One of the makers (a girl) from the first Nook has set up her own jewelery business.
At the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda. This 60 year old camp has residents from Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Erythria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia. This Nook, created in a plastic bottle house that was built for this project, by the learners themselves. Similarly all the furnitures that were needed was again make by the people at the Nook, within a few days, from foldable tables to sliding stand for the projector. The learners (participants) have already started a social venture creating shoes out of used cloth pieces.
Project DEFY objective is to give education back to the people and the community, which will give rise to leaders, entrepreneurs, youth venturers and creating sustainable solutions.
It's partnerships like these (Labdoo and Project DEFY) that makes the world a better place, especially not-for-profit ventures that have gargantuan implications across the world helping the under-served. Project DEFY is now in its growth phase, set to open close to TEN Nooks by December 2017, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Labdoo, the Nooks will give rise to several innovators and leaders, who haven't even realized their own potential, not because of their inability to so but by the lack of opportunity for any form of quality educational and guidance. Project DEFY is set to unlock all those hidden potential.
Date it was last updated: 02/01/18