Our Vision: Kickstarting Jagrit Labs
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.
We firmly believe that the best people to address challenges for communities are the ones who are from these communities. Our goal is to kickstart social and economic change at the hyperlocal level by supporting the creation of community leaders, starting with Mumbai. Over time, we will evolve into an incubator for projects, enabling youth to launch social and commercial enterprises that empower their communities. MakerGhat is completely run by staff and volunteers from the surrounding community.
The founders of Jagrit Labs have over 6 years of combined experience working with slum communities in the education and healthcare domains. We have first-hand experience with the creative potential of underserved communities, despite (and often because of) their lack of a formal education. Among youth, in particular, there is a thirst to challenge the status quo and maximize their potential, but limited opportunities. Jagrit Labs provides a platform where they can nurture and showcase their talents, in an environment where they are free to experiment and contribute to society in a variety of ways.
Key Objectives of Jagrit Labs
Maker mindset: We encourage youth to develop a sense of agency and confidence to creatively solve problems. They not only learn technical and soft skills but also think about, design, and implement solutions to challenges in their communities and beyond.
Community-Centric: Students provide the human resources and energy for driving the various activities at Jagrit Labs. They identify the challenges and potential approaches that are most compelling and relevant to them and their communities.
Collaborative: Students not only use the resources of the center to generate original products but also help and inspire other students to realize their ideas. We develop partnerships between students, researchers, social entreprises, domain experts, and more around the world to support in their projects.
Self-Driven: We provide scaffolding to the point where students are able to advance their own learning. We “graduate” students from Jagrit Labs so that they can pursue their own careers. We hope to create a domino effect where alumni of the space go on to inspire others in their communities.
Inclusive: We are particularly interested in supporting populations for whom opportunities to engage in such activities may be limited. We plan the location, timings, and costs of our workshops and programs to enable as many people to attend as possible.
We are also committed to sharing our space layout, operating model, and materials with other individuals, communities, and organizations. As we refine our model over the next few months, we will share blog posts to document our learnings. We will also be rolling out an online curriculum and uploading materials to our website. Our model and materials have been contextualized to the populations we work with and may need to be adapted locally when deployed elsewhere, but should provide a great starting point!