There is a perception that children from government schools in rural villages lack creativity and talent; that they cannot speak fluent English, cannot comprehend science and, surely, cannot innovate. However, something has begun in rural Punjab that is going to disrupt the aforesaid presumption.
14-year-old Kabir is a student in a local government school in Khera Jattan village. His parents are keen to educate him and have sacrificed a lot to ensure this. Kabir’s parents make sure he eats well, gets up early to study and doesn’t watch too much T.V. He is a good student academically but linear in his approach.
One-day things changed. RoundGlass set up a Makerspace called the RoundGlass Nook in the village on 1st March 2018 as part of its GIVE initiative. This is a very innovative self-learning model by Abhijeet, a social entrepreneur under the RoundGlass GIVE Fellows program. These learning spaces, called Nooks, are community-run, without the necessity of traditional teachers. It motivates the community to identify its interests and develop projects/skills by utilizing the power of the internet and open-source learning (YouTube). This operates like a lab where people from the village can use the internet and learn how to give shape to their creativity, creating 1st drawings and prototypes for their projects. They also create milestone plans for their projects, breaking them down into simpler chunks.
The resources provided by the RoundGlass Nook include electrical appliances, drills, building tools, computers, internet, and whiteboards, along with a manager to facilitate the learning process. Over a period of time, the community itself decides and requests for craft- and skill- specific masterclasses.
At Khera Jattan, interviews were conducted to assess interest after the villagers showed a lot of curiosity. From a village population of 2000, over 70 children, women and young adults turned up. Interestingly, almost 50% of them were females. Their interests and skills were recorded, and the induction began where the RoundGlass Nook was opened to the village.
This small achievement created an air of great excitement in the entire village. More children, women, and young adults joined and began tinkering with electronics, making small boats, cars, and things that are yet to be named. Along with the RoundGlass GIVE team, they painted the lab and tables, and are also building a shed to counter the heat of the upcoming summer.
The RoundGlass GIVE team is overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the village, and it gives us immense pleasure to share the story of change with you. RoundGlass Nook is fully operational in Khera Jattan Village in Sanaur Block of Patiala District and is facilitating and witnessing real grassroots change.