Innovation That Matters

In India, old cardboard boxes used to create school bags that transform into desks

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Aarambh is using discarded cardboard waste to create school bags which unpack into small desks — designed to improve the posture of children who are used to sitting and writing on the floor.

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A good education is of vital importance for those seeking a way out of poverty — But in many parts of India, there is a serious shortage of basic necessities such as school bags and proper classroom furniture. Looking to solve both of those problems in one move, Aarambh is using discarded cardboard waste to create school bags which unpack into small desks.

Aarambh is a non-profit working out of New Bombay, and their Help Desk looks to tackle many of the problems faced by children in India’s poorer classrooms. The organization first collects old cardboard boxes sourced from recycling centres, offices and retail stores, before a stencil design is overlaid as a template for cutting out the desk/bag. Once cut, the cardboard can be folded into a book bag for children to carry their texts to and from school, rather than the plastic bags many used before. At the start of every day, the bag can then be unfolded, and refolded into a small desk, improving the children’s comfort and posture. It will also help them to avoid eyesight and handwriting problems which can arise from reading, writing and sitting all on the floor. The Help Desks were distributed to schools in the rural areas of Maharashtra, and you can see them in action in the video below:

The solution not only helps the children and helps recycle discarded cardboard, but each desk only costs 20 cents to produce. How else could waste produce be upcycled and put to better use?



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