Jagrit Research Foundation
MakerGhat is only our initial offering as part of a larger effort, Jagrit Research Foundation (or Jagrit Labs). “Jagrit”, which means “awakening” in Hindi, is a call for action. Our vision is to kickstart a change in how innovation is traditionally viewed in India as the domain of the highly educated. There is a dearth of original ideas, products, research, and companies in India considering the massive human resources available. This will continue to be the case until the overlooked three-quarters of the population unable to attend university is mobilized and equipped. We hope to effect a cultural change in the technology sector in India, starting with Mumbai.
The founders of Jagrit Labs have over 5 years of combined experience working with community leaders in and around slum communities and with with slum residents. We have first-hand experience with the creative potential of underserved communities, despite (and often because of) their lack of formal education or non-traditional learning.
Among youth, in particular, there is a thirst to do something meaningful and different with their lives and to challenge the status quo, but a lack of opportunities. We provide a platform where these individuals can nurture and showcase their talents, in an environment where they are free to experiment and contribute to society in unanticipated ways.
To achieve this vision, our long-term goal is to expand and diversify into a private research center with targeted project domains, while maintaining the invention mindset that MakerGhat will help foster. By 2022, we aim to open three such makerspace centers in Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai, each of which will contribute a different culture an expertise. Below are the some of the areas we plan to specialize in based on our connections and prior work in the regions and domains listed below.
Key Objectives of Jagrit Labs
Starting with MakerGhat in Mumbai, we will tap into talent in local communities, not only encouraging youth to learn technical skills, but pushing them to design and build solutions to problems in their communities and beyond.
Research and Development
We will employ an in-house inventor and technical expert who will not only use the resources of the center to generate original products but will help and inspire students to realize their ideas. Once a culture of experimentation and learning has been established through the makerspace, we will develop partnerships between students, and researchers and domain experts around the world. As a private research center, we will collaborate with institutions and programs such as NITI Aayog, governments, and universities to conduct high-budget and high-value projects.
Students of MakerGhat will provide the human resources and energy for driving the various research groups at the center, some of the research will emerge from the areas that they identify as most compelling.
Finally, we provide scaffolding to the point where students are motivated to advance their own learning. We will “graduate” students from Jaago Labs so that they can pursue their own careers. We hope to create a domino effect where alumni of the space can go on to inspire others in their communities.