I am often asked why do I run a makerspace, or why does a non-techie wants to get into a space that till sometime back, was reserved for engineers. Well, I could simply say that just because this is what I do. But, then that would not be true, because this not just what I do, running a makerspace is something that I chose to do even though I knew nothing about most of the stuff that goes on in the space.
For me the journey started some two and half years ago while I was attending a Startup Week at SproutBox, a co-working facility run by my husband. The week went really well with tons of startups attending it, asking questions, displaying what they are working on etc. But, by the end of the week I had realized that all I saw throughout the week were people who were trying to make a new app, or trying to sell groceries online, or thinking of an idea to capitalize on the fact that everybody today carries a smart phone with oodles of browsing data to spare.
Sadly, NOBODY was thinking of MAKING the next big THING, nobody was thinking of the next big INVENTION, not even thinking of making a measly phone or a car, forget about space shuttles.
With this realization, also came the realization that you can only think of what you are conditioned to think. Humans are programmed very early in life to think in a certain way, and the easiest way to survive is to go with the flow. So, if the flow today is to make apps, then people will simply go with that flow and create more apps. Why waste time and energy to think differently.
As a child, specially a girl child, I was never encouraged to work with tools or machinery. My mom always said that this is a guy’s hobby, but the rebel in me just wanted to do what my brother was doing, and luckily for me he was a total hands on person. So, very early on in life I learnt how to use tools, service motor parts, get my hands dirty with grease, not bother about chipping my nails, and the fact that cut hands meant that you have got some work done today.
I wanted to take my love for working with hands to the public at large, and I also knew that it will be an uphill task to convince the parents to let their children get their hands dirty and cut. Maker Spaces were an alien concept in our part of the world, but with the knowledge that a parent always wants to give their child an edge over the rest of the children, we forayed into the journey called MakersBox.
Two years into this venture, I still have my beliefs intact that places like MakersBox need to exist in every corner of the city. It is a place where you can come and give your dream product a face. As an individual, if you want to develop a product, it is impossible for you to have the full expertise or the tools and machinery to develop the whole finished product.
With MakersBox, we give such individuals a place where they could come in with just an idea, work with other likeminded people who have expertise in different fields, use the latest tools and machinery, and build a working proto type of their product.
At MakersBox, I hope to define the skills, knowledge and habits of the children and young adults. We are trying to teach them to think for themselves, enhance their creativity, and put them in a habit to work towards what they want rather than just going out and buying it. As students, we always wondered how can teachers make even the basic lessons so boring. So, we have integrated every day school lessons into various activities in our labs, ensuring that the children not only learn their lesson hands on, but also remember it for a longer time.
MakersBox is also a community where we believe in working in tandem with each other, making us a small family, that helps all its members to achieve their goals.
Some come in to build a product, some to learn a new skill, some to simply let off a bit of steam by banging or cutting stuff, and some simply come to be a part of this great knowledge bank.
Whatever their reasons, MakersBox gives them a place which they can call their own.
Harpreet Kaur Sapra is the co-founder of MakersBox, a maker space running in New Delhi and Sproutbox- a co-working facility.
If you are a maker or want to be one, come over and check out our space. Let’s meet and create.