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Who we are

Our Story

We are a small group of passionate learners and creators who are attempting to create true alternatives to mainstream learning, where instead of following a deadpan curriculum created by someone else, the learners can truly think about themselves, their families, their communities, and the whole world, and discover the education they need and want for themselves.

Our Mission

Reclaiming the meaning of education and breaking the existing factory-model of learning, by helping communities create their own schools. These schools are called Nooks.

Our Vision

We believe that education must be brought back into the hands of the people, and therefore we envision a self-designed education for all, which is accessible, equitable and localised.

Our Values

  • Be Good,  Be Diverse,
  • Be Moonshot, Be Empathetic,
  • Be Fun,  Be a Community Builder.

The Founding Team

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Kushal Kumar K
Hopper

Passionate about children and mingling with Adults, loves to travel and learn new languages. Being a hopper has taught him to live without fear.

Awards & Accolades

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FabLearn

Presented the DEFY model at Stanford University at the FabLearn conference which is now part of the ACM digital Library.

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HundrED 

Selected 4 years in a row (2017-2021) one of the first 10 of 100 global educational innovations by Finland based HundrED(.org)

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Good Festival

Won the 100 Top Innovations Prema Gyan Award at Lausanne, Switzerland at the Good Festival. 

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Global Junior Challenge

Winner of Global Junior Challenge 2015 held in Rome that rewards the innovative use of technology for the education of 21st century and the social inclusion.

Womennovator

 In 2018, Megha was selected among 100 “Women of Substance” by The ‘Wommenovator’ program.

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St. Gallen Symposium

Abhijit was a as a leader to participate and speak at the 48th St. Gallen Symposium held in May 2018 to debate «Beyond the end of work» in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

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International Visitor Leadership Program

March 2018,  Megha Bhagat. Recognized as a future leader of change through the US State Department International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) 

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Kanthari

Abhijit Sinha was a participant in the 2015 kanthari leadership training  course. 

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I Inspire

Abhijit Sinha was presented with the Social Entrepreneur award of the Year BD Foundation 2017

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Common Purpose

Winners of Common Purpose Challenge 2016 held in UK. 

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Transcendence Award

Project DEFY received this prestigious accolade at the U.S. Michigan State University in 2019.

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Abhijit Sinha Founder – CEO

Abhijit was born with a certain quiet curiosity that led him to play with pressure cookers and light bulbs as a child, instead of plastic toys. It was when education was taking him away from exercising this curiosity and challenging things around him, that he came around to create Project DEFY and the concept of Nook as a low-cost self-learning space. People now use the term “Social Entrepreneur” and “Social Innovator” to describe him, but he likes to think of himself simply as a problem-solver and a forever optimist.

Megha

Co-Founder, Chief of Growth

A human rights lawyer and a self-proclaimed feminist, Megha is passionate about the realisation of every individual’s self-worth. When she is not arguing about the basic fundamentals of human rights she is trying to be a writer in the Hindustani language.

Arvind Badrinarayanan
Co-Director

Arvind has been interested in learning pretty much everything since he was little. But after experiencing nearly every major educational system first hand, Indian, Arab, British and American, in primary, high school and college, he came to the conclusion that the system was broken globally. Arvind became a strong believer in self and peer learning and other alternative and customisable methodologies, which he believes to be the future of learning.

Sanjay Prasad
Serial Entrepreneur, Mentor, Advisor & Angel Investor

With 27+ years of experience in sales, marketing, technology and leadership roles in the high-tech industry. His expertise lies in the process and organisational transformation, technology strategy and implementation, project management, new product development, financial restructuring, customer acquisition and market strategy. He has four successful ventures from inception to successful acquisition to his credit.

Vidya Laxman
Tech Director, Tesco

Guides in creating partnerships and collaborations for innovation with the corporate sector in India.

A senior management professional with 18+ yrs (Across USA & India), entrepreneurial with commercial acumen in products and services business. She has a rich mix of business development, strategic planning, project management and operational excellence in a global delivery model. Vidya is on a Core committee member in industry bodies like NASSCOM, Grace Hopper (Anita Borg Institute) and Women leadership forums.

Bilal Ghalib
Project Director, AltCity

Contributes to Project DEFY in nook design and development strategies and process challenges an entrepreneur, activist and maker. For close to a decade he’s been helping establish collaborative making spaces in America and the Middle East. Some of his recent explorations include how cooperative spaces support refugee communities in Beirut and how meditation polishes what we make. Ultimately the discussions he seeks to surround the concepts of the good life and a beautiful world as it relates to community, economy and making.

Lieut. Gen (Dr) Rajesh Pant PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Renowned Soldier & Scholar

Advises Project DEFY on building strategic partnerships with the public sector.

As a soldier, the officer served the Indian Army Signals for more than 41 years, participated in many military operations, including in Sri Lanka and Kargil. As a scholar, the officer is a triple post graduate, in 2014, he obtained his PhD in Information Security. As a mentor, he is presently guiding startups in the IT sector. He is presently the Chairman of Precision Electronics Ltd, a Governing Council member of IETE, an International Consultant in Information Security, and is also associated with NAAC, as well as being a visiting faculty in some renowned educational institutions.