Project DEFY started in March 2014 when Abhijit Sinha, at that time staying in a small village called Banjarapallaya next to Bangalore, realized 2 things:
• 95% of its inhabitants had never used a laptop nor a smartphone,
• And those same inhabitants could easily and quickly learn by themselves.
At that time, Abhijit experimented the self-learning lab. He let open to anyone the house he was staying in with basic tools (hammers, screwdrivers, …), junks from trashes and 5 laptops with free internet access. 1,5 years later, 45 people were regularly coming to the space making and learning things on their own. The space seemed to run by itself. Project DEFY and its Nooks, small self-learning schools, were born.
According to Megha and Abhijit, the current education system targets a small amount of the Indian population. And even that doesn’t work so well. Project Defy aims to democratize education and customize it according to each community’s needs thanks to Nooks, self-learning spaces, which are “accessible, equitable and localized”.
Those Nooks rely on 2 basic tenets: “learning happens naturally” and “information is available freely”. Nooks provide the framework and the communities create their own learning paths.