Karkhana: Redefining Learning Experiences

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Karkhana: Redefining Learning Experiences

 

When asked about learning experiences, many of us picture a boring classroom where we have to sit through hours of classes without having the opportunity to express ourselves. Karkhana aims to change this perception and make learning a fun experience. Karkhana is an educational organisation and makerspace founded by a group of engineering graduates who had the vision to provide a service that allows them to merge their ideas and skills to create a platform for others to excel.

Karkhana today is the realization of that very vision which; as a makerspace, brings innovators together to invent, create and learn, while as an educational organisation, develops and delivers innovative courses that help students learn in a fun-filled environment with the right setting methodology.  

In this startup story, we look into a project brought together by five visionaries who are trying to slowly change the education and innovation spectrum of Nepal through Karkhana.

 

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Karkhana’s Inception

In July 2012, Karkhana founder Sakar Pudasaini met Dipeshwor Man Shrestha and started Karkhana as a platform to allow the members of Monsoon Collective- a month long workshop catering to self-motivated innovators- to have the opportunity to keep working together. They then merged with fellow co-founders, Sunoj Shrestha, Pavitra Gautam, and Suresh Ghimire after meeting at a Google Developer Bar Camp in October of the same year to start a local innovation focused company.

The Starting Point

The initial years were rocky and their venture did not see through. They started a product design company, which focused on creating new products that would be sold to potential customers, after realising that Nepal did not have any and decided to be the first one to contribute to that field. Although a rather broad term, product design is essentially the efficient and effective generation and development of ideas through a process that leads to new products. This was pretty much the ideal job for a group of self-motivated innovators.

Alas, the venture however did not last due to the lack of people who sought their services. However what came out of it was truly remarkable. Inspired by their failures, the five friends invested their time and money into Karkhana in the form of an educational organisation. Karkhana being an educator, primarily focuses on providing a more hands on and practical learning experience. Following a humanistic approach which emphasises the fact that everyone is different and hence, have individual unique traits and needs, they try their best to cater to all different learning methods.

Upon entering their office, we were greeted by friendly faces and warm smiles that immediately made us comfortable. They started off with just five team members on board but now their team has grown immensely and they have forged close bonds with one another. Situated in the heart of the city, Gyaneshwor, Karkhana has people coming in from all over the city. Decked with bright warm fairy lights and a cosy interior, the makerspace had a very cosy lived-in air. We met up with one of the founders, Gautam, who filled us in on everything we needed to know about Karkhana and even took it upon himself to show us around and describe everything in detail.

 

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In 2013, Karkhana bagged two awards while representing Nepal at the NASA SPACE APPS Challenge.

As of now, they are reaching out to 2600 students a week delivering 80 classes to 17 different schools. They have two distinct programs BeeCreative and the Karkhana Innovator’s Club.

BeeCreative is a co-curricular program that enhances and further enriches the educational programs that schools already have planned out for the pupils. They have an extensive and enriching curriculum of 150 lesson plans, all of which are unconventional yet profound. They visit schools on a weekly basis and conduct classes that teach students to think out of the box. Through their programs, students are taught essential educational lessons. One example out of their 150 lesson plans would be the teaching of the International Morse Code. Like the Morse Code, BeeCreative teaches various other versatile skills in the form of fun lesson plans. The program has gained recognition amongst schools and now more institutions are opting for the project to be a part of their co-curricular schedule. Students look forward to their time with the leaders from Karkhana and so far, they have been getting positive feedback about their lesson plans and their activities.

 

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Karkhana Innovator’s Club (KIC) on the other hand is an after school program that aims to live up to their aim of inculcating 21st-century thinking skills into youths through problem-solving and active participation in hands on practical learning. The program spans out over 12 weeks and during the time, students are constantly presented with challenges that stimulate their creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and risk taking skills- all these being the requisites for innovation. While we were at their office, Gautam showed us some models of the students’ works and needless to say, it was impressive.

At the moment, the current batch of students were working on clay animation. With the use of technology and innovation, the clay animation comes to life. Using state of the art equipment, Karkhana aims to provide the best experience for the children. With the 3D printer and the 3D laser engraving machine meant for acrylic and wood, the students are able to obtain many lesson takeaways. At the end of the 12 weeks, the students put up a presentation show for their peers and parents. During the presentation, their growth and development as passionate learners will be evident in the hard work that has gone into their project models.

 

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KIC charges Rs. 6000 per month, a price that most people would not want to fork out. However, considering the fact that a lot of material and supplies go into the lesson plans, it is a reasonable cause. Adding to that, even in their commercial pursuits, they remain true to their values. Gautam further added, “We’ve had parents who have been sending their children on Saturdays for the KIC program for over three years. The parents are very supportive.” He believes that in Nepal, when there is a premium service that is beneficial, people are more than willing to pay premium prices.

 

Even in their commercial pursuits, they remain true to their values.

 

However, Gautam and other Karkhana founders believe that despite slowly making a mark in the educational field, they still have a bigger problem at hand. Four million children all over the nation still do not have access to proper education. They aim to change that, slowly but surely. Looking to the future, they strive to reach out to more than 10,000 children, as opposed to their current count of 2600. We hope that with the years to come, more people come to know of Karkhana and believe in their services as a top notch educator group.

Comments

  • Guest
    Narayan Thursday, 14 September 2017

    Good job.expecting CSR for gov school too.instead of imported material, may be using local available natural material may be good.

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Guest
Guest Thursday, 23 November 2017