Nook Fellows Programme

Apply Now for the Project DEFY ‘Nook Fellows Programme’

There are two kinds of changemakers in the world: the first ones are the ‘Fixers’ who perpetually attempt to make existing institutions such as schools and colleges better. And then, there are the ‘Creators’ who try to design and implement alternatives to the existing system because they know you can’t fix a broken system.

If you are a Creator, this fully paid fellowship is for you! Project DEFY – a leading organization in the area of alternative learning and selected three consecutive times as one of the 100 worldwide most inspiring innovations in education – is looking for bold individuals between 22 and 30 years old who want to play an active role in India’s education revolution. We are looking for Nook Fellows that can join our Nooks for a period of 18 months, starting as soon as possible.

The ‘modern’ education system is outdated. Schools and colleges don’t enable their students to create their own meaningful lives according to individual needs and interests, dreams and aspirations. They don’t help us to think out of the box, to develop creative and innovative skills, or to come up with new solutions for the many existing and ever newly emerging challenges and issues we are facing on the local, national and global levels.

Instead of trying to fix this broken system, you can co-create new solutions with us. We offer you the opportunity to join our global team as Nook Fellow for 18 months. Nooks are ‘schools without teachers’ in marginalized communities that provide everyone with free access to technology, tools, resources and information to design and pursue their own education.

As Nook Fellow, you will be co-leading this grassroots-education initiative alongside and with our Learners. You will be working with a community of 40-60 Learners to pursue their own, hands-on projects; help establish the idea of self-designed learning in the local community; facilitate and encourage discussions among the community on a broad variety of topics and issues; and – ultimately – you will enable local community members to run the space on their own and create a truly sustainable, community-led form of education that helps underprivileged individuals to pursue and catch their dreams, and marginalized communities to prosper and grow.    

To become a Nook Fellow, you don’t need to have much experience in self-designed learning (although this could be an added benefit), but you need to be curious, open and willing to learn about it and excited to practice it together with the local community. Everyone can become a self-designed learner! 

Additionally, and besides the in-house training you will receive from our experienced team members, we offer you a vast range of experiential learning opportunities together with our many partner organizations in the field of alternative education. For 60 days of the 18-months fellowship, you will get the chance to visit other alternative education projects, attend workshops and seminars and join their activities. 

After the fellowship, we will together with you explore opportunities for further employment across other roles with Project DEFY and other partners, or provide support to start your own education initiative.  

If this role and opportunity sound exciting to you, then apply now to become a Nook Fellow. We are looking for self-confident, expressive and communicative individuals between 22 and 30 years old who have the commitment to live and grow with a local community for 18 months. Rather than a mere job, you see the fellowship as a community experience and a way to solve a community problem as well as work towards substantial change in the education landscape. You should be interested in project-based learning and have a hands-on attitude to learn with the Nook Community and support Learners in their various projects. MS Office skills are a must, and some experience with self-designed learning projects or any forms of alternative education are an added advantage (but no must!). To apply as Nook fellow , a minimum basic proficiency of English or local languages depending on location is required.





The Fellowship at a Glance

  • 18-months fellowship programme 
  • Fellowship allowance of Rs 20,000/month
  • Placement as Nook Fellow in one of our Nooks and the opportunity to co-create and co-lead your own grassroots education initiatives
  • Lots of freedom and creativity to follow your own interests and design your own way of running the Nook space (in coordination with DEFY)
  • 60 days of experiential training by traveling to some of our partner organizations and joining some of their activities, seminars or trainings
  • In-house training and support by experienced staff of Project DEFY, a leading organization in the area of self-designed learning and selected 3 consecutive times as one of the 100 worldwide most inspiring innovations in education 
  • Meetings (interactive or on-site) with other fellows
  • After the fellowship: exploring further opportunities to work across other roles with Project DEFY or with other partners
  • Supporting marginalized communities in breaking out of the cycle of poverty
  • Being at the forefront of India’s ‘learning revolution’ based on a bottoms-up model of empowering marginalized communities
  • Learning how to practice alternative education approaches in a variety of contexts and being able to start your own project/initiative or join existing ones

Uganda Nook

Our first Nook outside India. This Nook is in partnership and is supported by SINA (Social Innovation
Academy). The Nook itself is made by the community, made out of plastic bottles filled with mud and cemented
together, with a wood upper half and tin-sheet roofing. 50 odd people started to use the Nook, using the computers,
cutting wood, checking up motors, trying out the soldering iron, etc. In a few days they made a regular large table, a
bench and a foldable table for laptops to be mounted against the wall and a casing for a projector to be mounted.
They have now begun making sandals out of unused clothes and tyres, furniture, bracelets out of paper. They are
also taking courses in music production and electronics on the Internet. All of this in just one month of starting up.
Space has also become a repair centre for radios, mobile phones, headphones etc.,

Mangalore nook

Our second Nook is in a small village called Muranagar, in Bajpe, about one hour from Mangalore
city. It is run in a house, with about 2500 sq feet of built-up space and some open land for agriculture and gardening.
The community has been working hard to turn the house into a space of creativity.