Skills for Life

What is the purpose of education? In the summer of 2015, we set out to discern the answer to this question, in the slums of Mumbai. Exploring the intersections of education, culture, and community, our research uncovered several social, cultural, and economic barriers that these communities face with respect to education and employment. 

School students from a Mumbai slum participating in a problem solving workshop organized by Ycenter. The kids solved local problems, using human centered design methods, and implemented small scale pilots in their neighborhoods

School students from a Mumbai slum participating in a problem solving workshop organized by Ycenter. The kids solved local problems, using human centered design methods, and implemented small scale pilots in their neighborhoods

Economic Advancement is the major purpose of education for people in these communities. Yet most of their pathways to this are full of barriers, and often they are non- existent. Our goal was to create interventions that open up some of these pathways and create new ones. 

For this project we were joined by Maia Ottenstein, a Product design graduate from Drexel University, who was interested in understanding the challenges of education better. The context of slum youth in Mumbai provided her with a perspective that she otherwise would not have been able to experience, as well as giving her the chance to do field research with the Ycenter team in Mumbai. The research project lasted 3 months, and was followed by a month long process of synthesis and ideation.

One of our interventions is a currently being implemented in Mumbai by the Ycenter team. It’s called the Maker Auto, and its the first mobile maker space in India. The goal of the Maker Auto is to spark creative confidence in kids, help them build tangible skills & bringing the constructivist attitude & do it yourself spirit of the Maker community to them. 

You can read more about Skills for Life here.

Aditya BrahmabhattIndia