Toys from Trash

March 8, 2009

Photo and quotes from Toy Story Times of India story

Some people talk about trying to change the world, then there are people like Arvind Gupta who have spend the last 30 years doing so.  A graduate of IIT, Gupta left a promising career as a Telco engineer, to teach science.  After seeing expensive UNICEF science kits left unopened, for fear of being damaged, Gupta realized that teachers needed to be able to make things themselves to be able to teach well.  Ascribing to a view point that, “Science is not hardware, it is a viewpoint,” he began to create “toys” from everyday items, often trash, to teach children scientific concepts with the underlying belief that a more expensive education does not necessarily translate into a better one.  Gupta and his team at the Children’s Science Centre at the University of Pune’s amazing work can be found on the incredible Toys from Trash website.

When I see project’s like the simple electric motor, I can’t help but wonder how many more William Kamkwamba’s we would we have if teachers had access to Gupta “toys” in rural African schools.

When not designing new toys, Gupta also translates books into Hindi (100+ books!) which he posts for free on his website.   I need to file Arvind Gupta in the back of my mind for the next time I am feeling lazy!

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I'm a technologist/geek living in Nairobi, Kenya. I believe open code and data can make the world a better place. Follow me on Twitter;

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