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NutSpace: Building Children’s Skills Through Stories


The importance of education is undeniable, but its quality is oftentimes questionable. Insufficient dedication to educational reforms, the lack of vision as well as the ability to teach - all these factors have jeopardized the future of quality education globally.

Rohini Vij, a storyteller and an educator, was the first to notice the crumbling education within the Indian educational system. To breathe some fresh air into the field, Rohini created NutSpace, an online platform exclusively dedicated to developing essential life, social, and communication skills in children of all ages.

Unlike other educational platforms, NutSpace pays attention to storytelling. Through stories and the proprietary inventive thinking methodology, NutSpace allows the youth to learn both through traditional approaches and practical experiences.

Developing independent thinking among children called for drastic reeducation of their parents and teachers as well. Read the story of one woman whose desire for a more informed tomorrow led her to create one of the most purpose-driven platforms within the education playground.

Every Story Has a Beginning

Rohini Vij was born in the small town of Shimla, in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Unlike the many children missing out on quality education, Rohini had the opportunity to attend the best school in Shimla, the Convent of Jesus and Mary school for girls.

From a young age, Rohini was mesmerized by stories, and learning dramatics at school gave her the opportunity to actively showcase her talents. She next attended the Auckland House School, also in Shimla, where she continued to partake in their drama classes. Since she had a talent for creative writing, Rohini soon became the editor of the school magazine and the president of the literary club. Everything in her early life revolved around stories, creating and performing them - and she knew that wherever life would take her, her artsy skills would come along for the ride as well.

First Big Steps

After finishing high school, Rohini went to St.Bede's College in her hometown, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts. She excelled in college and received an award as well as a gold medal for being at the top of her class, which ultimately led her to be appointed Admiral (Head) Girl of the college, during her senior year.

Finishing college with great success meant that Rohini finally had to leave Shimla, to pursue further development, both professionally and personally. She initially went to Delhi to become a postgraduate in Media Management and learn dramatics, photography, and filmmaking. This gave Rohini plenty of job opportunities in Delhi and allowed her to gain rich experience in public relations, marketing, corporate communications, and publishing. Rohini also worked freelance and partook in various workshops as well as professional theatre plays. During this time, she also lent her voice to several documentaries.

Since she had enough experience working in publishing, Rohini had an opportunity to meet many authors, and get more familiar with children’s books. The aim to focus on both literacy and children became additionally hyphenated when Rohini married in 2011 and became a mother shortly thereafter.

A New Chapter in the Story

When Rohini Vij had her son, she and her husband decided to move to his hometown Kanpur, in Uttar Pradesh. This way, Rohini would have enough family support and be able to continue working at the same time. When her son grew up a bit and became ready to socialize, Rohini found out that there’s not much the child could learn in Kanpur where, unlike in Delhi, education resources were minimal.

She also found out that the city also lacked libraries, bookstores, and book clubs, all of which she found to be utterly disappointing. Instead of giving up, Rohini began reading her son stories and even performed for him on various occasions. Immediately, she noticed the positive effects that her arts and crafts had on her child. He began picking up words quickly and developing early interaction and social skills.

However, Rohini’s disappointment with the city’s lack of opportunities for children made her constantly unhappy about living there. Seeing her misery, one day, her husband remarked that complaining will not change anything and that she needed to do something about the problem. Her husband’s pep talk was motivating enough for Rohini to take some action and make some groundbreaking changes within the Indian education system. She started slow and initially came up with the idea to create a designated storytelling space for children who needed it the most.

A Story about a Storyteller

There were many obstacles on Rohini’s way to stardom. She had no funding, no space available, and no real support. Even so, she was determined to give it her best shot and remain persistent until the end. With superb education and experience in her hands. Rohini first began her mission by offering professional storytelling training. From a business-only idea, Rohini next thought about adapting the ways of storytelling to a level that children of all ages could comprehend.

It didn’t take long for her to see the benefits that reading, storytelling, and creative playing had on children, and especially her son. However, despite having the designated space to educate and story-tell, not many children had attended her class. She then began thinking about reaching a larger audience and alongside her team, Rohini began posting YouTube videos aimed at youngsters and children who wanted to enrich their vocabulary.

With the advancements of technology, Rohini figured that traditional education had become an almost mythical concept. Virtual lessons, watching videos, or listening to audio stories, on the other hand, became superb tools that encouraged the development of both societal and artistic skills in children. Out of her realization came a business plan, and out of that plan soon came NutSpace.

Good Stories Spread Fast

Rohini faced many challenges at the beginning of creating NutSpace. The biggest one was the mindset of all parents and teachers, who were by then only used to traditional education. Therefore, it was difficult to convince them of the importance of building life skills, and that they can be achieved through stories and reading. All changes she wanted to impose were perceived with suspicion and most of them concerning formal, grade-based education.

But Rohini was persistent. The biggest help came from her first clients, who saw the improvements in their children and were eager to spread the word on NutSpace. Their YouTube videos also started getting more views, and the interest in NutSpace was rising.

This encouraged Vij and her team, and they started creating programs for schools and also opening up centers for education, where students can have combined physical and online experiences. Online education was a problem for many because of the infrastructure in India, but NutSpace’s service was eventually greeted with acceptance.

Even though it started as a bootstrap-funded startup in 2014, meaning self-invested, NutSpace found an interested investor in 2017. It was JioGen Next, a startup accelerator, that decided that NutSpace is a project with a bright future.

Besides being a certified storyteller, in 2016, Rohini Vij also became a Jolly Phonics and Grammar UK Trainer, training teachers and students on how to read using the Jolly UK Phonics Methodology.

A Neverending Story

NutSpace is an Indian educational company based in the city of Kanpur. Rohini Vij is the CEO and the founder of the company. Today more than 100 children from 1-14 years old visit the NutSpace center. Many others benefit from the NutSpace programs in their schools. More than 50 schools collaborate with NutSpace and use their program.

Their Youtube channel has 33,000 subscribers, and it has 1.5 million views per week. The company plan is to expand more and reach as many children as possible, online or in their centers.

Rohini Vij’s story is a heartwarming one. She grew from an artistic child into an innovative parent who couldn’t accept the dull and fruitless development her child had to undergo. So, she turned storytelling into a useful education tool. And this time, it didn’t only concern her child - but thousands of other children whose future depends on quality learning through the art of the narrated word!