Edupreneur Monica Yadav On How 'Respire' Makes Learning Easy And Fun With DIY Kits, Workshops & More
Born in Chandigarh, an Army School kid, Monica Yadav was brought up in different cities and landed up in Ahmedabad when she was 11 years old. During her graduation years, as she was studying to become a biotechnology engineer, Monica had to do a lot of projects. This was when she realized the importance of hands-on experience for the first time. She saw other students completing final year project out of compulsion, just for the sake of certificates and grades. She had found a problem that needed to be solved.
During this time, Monica was also teaching school students as a part time activity. While doing her experiments to make learning more easy and fun for them, she found that introducing small practicals along with theory worked wonders.
After graduating in 2014, she started working with Abellon Clean Energy in the R&D Engineering department of the renewable energy sector, handling international and government projects for developing biofuels. All this time, she always knew she wanted to get back to teaching full-time.
After an year, Monica left her job and started Respire Experiential Learning - where she designed various workshops, hands on activities and products for children aged 5-15 years. Today, they provide services to schools, parents as well as various companies.
She has carefully devised various theme based workshops for teaching science, some crazy science lab kits and in-school & after-school programs. Respire also regularly conducts nature excursions and build-tech workshops.
In this exclusive interview with CrazyEngineers, we got engineer turned educator Monica Yadav to share her experiences with us. Read on!
Monica Yadav, Founder - Respire Experimental Learning
CE: What is your take on the 'entrepreneurship bug'? When did it hit you? Do you think you could work at a regular 9-to-5 job?
Monica Yadav: After working in corporate I realized I will be more motivated to work for my passion. Entrepreneurship is productive.
CE: When did you first think about Respire? What was your motivation to start such a service?
Monica Yadav: When I introduced small experiments to kids while teaching (During my graduation) I realized the impact hands-on experience gave. I realized that we can create hands on experience for every age group and help them understand science. I was passionate about science and engineering. I wanted kids to take this subject as passion and not compulsion or the so called best career option!
Hands on Science can help kids understand things and technology around them. Giving them power to apply science in day to day life, and hence promoting innovation. This gives power to take up Engineering, Medical or any other field with idea of creating something new and optimized application.
CE: Could you share the end to end process of how Respire system works.
Monica Yadav: Respire Experiential Learning is based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. We have done workshops at schools in different cities like Gujarat and Mumbai. We have our after school program centres in Ahmedabad. We design science experiments based on topics in curriculum. We then scale up these experiments to kits, and then bring it to kits through workshops at our centres, school workshops,CSR activities etc.
CE: What are the various services that Respire provides for students?
- We conduct workshops at our centers. We have a 3 month course and various STEM based theme based workshops. (like Marine Science, Space Science, Break it down etc)
- We collaborate with schools for yearly or monthly basis.
- We collaborate with corporate for CSR services.
CE: How do you get people interested in teaching Science Experiments and make it easy and fun for students?
Monica Yadav: We design our experiments in way that kids enjoy making the model from a scratch with customization he/she wants. Also we try to include arts with science so that it becomes interesting for kids.
CE: What is the biggest USP of Respire?
Monica Yadav: USP: We can organize science workshops with all possible themes.
CE: What is the company's revenue model? Are you bootstrapped/looking for funding?
Monica Yadav: We are presently bootstrapped, and our revenue comes from service fee. We will be soon looking for seed fund for retail products.
CE: What are the major benefits for the students of Respire? Why should they choose you?
Monica Yadav: We have reached till now more than 4500 students. We have done workshops with schools across all boards. We have also collaborated with Teach for India fellows, Make A difference and Yuva Unstoppable. We have done a CSR program with Intel Education for reaching out to maximum students with DIY Science Kit.
Experience With Parents: We have parents coming up with feedback where they share the experiences when kids come back home and start observing science principles applications in day to day life.
Experience With Teachers: It became easier for them to teach a science chapter after the class performs activity at our workshop. Teacher shared her experience where she took less time for teaching Electric circuit after kids attended REL workshop at school.
Experience With Students: Students have given positive feedback. Learning by doing has 75% of learning rate, compared to 45% by visuals or videos. We have kids who have made decor for home using science principles during Diwali. We have student who fixed up a broken window lock using hydraulic principle after our workshop.
CE: What is the most challenging part of running this startup? Which parts do you enjoy the most and hate the most?
Monica Yadav: Convincing parents and schools to shift towards STEM education is tough. The innovation that students do after our workshop is our source of motivation. That motivates us to reach out to every student.
CE: Any message to your readers?
Monica Yadav: Keep innovating. Don't give up on anything you are working on or are passionate about.