Many of the things that are taken for granted in the schools of the developed world -- like desks, chairs, pencils -- are not a given in other places. In the rural schools of India, children often sit in the floor to do their work without the aid of desks, and carry their books and materials home in flimsy, plastic shopping bags.
Striving to give these disadvantaged schoolkids an efficient and economical boost in the classroom, Mumbai-based non-profit Aarambh tackled this problem by creating the multifunctional Help Desk, a portable desk made out of recycled cardboard that also converts into a handy carrier for lugging books home.
Children who sit for long hours without the benefit of a desk can develop poor posture, eyesight problems and even bad handwriting. Aarambh creates Help Desks from cardboard that is recovered from recycling centers and local businesses. The outline of the design is traced onto the sheets, lasercut and folded. Kids can then use it as both a small desk and when folded up, as a briefcase-styled backpack to carry things around.
So far, the Help Desk has been distributed to a number of schoolchildren in rural Maharashtra to use, and there are plans to expand the project further. It's a low-cost solution that can have widespread repercussions: the total cost of making one desk is about 20 cents, and the result is that kids can sit and study much more comfortably, meaning that they can stay longer in school. More over at the Huffington Post and Aarambh.