Innovations That Matter

Washing machines help disadvantaged children stay in school

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Whirlpool donates free washing machines to schools to help reduce absenteeism among disadvantaged children.

Sometimes, it’s not the lack of teaching staff or schools but practical life problems that make it difficult for kids to stay in school. We have seen free underwear and sanitary products being made available to teenage girls in the developing world so they stay in class, and solar backpacks help students without access to electricity study at night. CareCounts from washing machine manufacturer, Whirlpool, is a new program aimed at keeping disadvantaged children in the US in school.

Missing school time and leaving school early are two of the key indicators for poor educational outcomes. Whirlpool is installing washers and dryers in schools to see how attendance rates are impacted by kids having access to clean laundry. The washers and dryers are provided free of charge to participating schools for educational staff to use while the children are in class. The aim is to ensure that those students no longer miss educational time through feelings of shame. Early results from the first phase of the program are said to be encouraging with attendance rates improving in over 90 percent of students.

The company plans to roll out this program to over 300 schools in the US. Could this simple idea rebalance inequalities of public school systems in your area?



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