Children / Innovation

Inquisitive Children, maverick matchsticks

Our eyes stop growing in size after we are thirteen, does our life space and curiosity also stop growing! In the recently concluded Children Creativity Camp, we found that children see and observe much deeper and closely than us and not only they observe but ideate solutions to the problems they see around. Impatient children seem to be our greatest asset. While we adults seem to adapt, adjust and learn to live with problems, young chidlren often wish these problems to be solved here and now.

When Deepak, Arbaz, Kushal, Ashna, Sanjana all under thirteen years of age found that the children in Juhapura and outer Vishala circle could recite a few poems but could not identify, read or write alphabets, they tried teaching them and they were very happy that in about half an hour the children could learn some of the alphabets. A ten year old Ashna Sharma thought about making a watch which will pronounce the alphabet appearing on its screen upon pressing a button. They found a girl who did not have copies to write, so she collected the pamphlets and advertisments posters and wrote on their back side. This inspired the participants of the workshop to donate their old books and copies to kids who cannot afford them.

Kushal saw that the electric meters were put at a low height, with wires exposed, he immediately thought that this could harm the children and suggested covering them with an insulated material.  He also made a detailed report on his conversation with Sameer, a child labour working as a construction labourer. He was studying in the nearby Gyaspur patha school till oneday his teacher called his parents and told them, “Iska dimaag padhai me nhi chalta, iska naam katwa dijiye.” (Strike his name from the school register as he is weak in studies.” This broke his confidence in such a way that he decided never to go to school again.

When the children were explaining about poverty in the slums, Professor Gupta asked one of the participants, Shivani Gupta, a class V student from Arzoo, Jamalpur, “Were local communities poor in everything? She nodded and said, “No they were very good artists and artisans.” Immediately, the children realised that they should not miss the resources and skills in which poor were rich.

Krish Bharatbhai Parmar, a class 9 student from Shree N U Bihola P V M High School, Isari saw that waste from the flower market stuck to the ground which made it difficult to collect it. Hence, it is left to decompose naturally, creating nuisance for the residents. He came out with developing a machine which will have a fan blade in the front; it will strike the ground at an angle collecting the sticky waste and will turn on its axis and collect them in a bag. A simple workable and affordable solution. Similarly, Affan Siddiqui saw the plight of the labours who were making road near the kabaddi stadium. The labourers picked the tar coal mixture by spade and put it in front of the bulldozer. This is actually quite taxing physically. Affan suggested an Adjustable wheel barrow model. The front portion opens like a tilted plate having a wiper used to put coaltar in the barrow. While taking out coaltar on the road, the barrow opens like a tilted or inclined plate..

Another kid, Kush who visited the potters in Makarba saw that the potter had to bend to work on the potter’s wheel. His group came with the idea of a pedal operated wheel whose height can be adjusted (photos).

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Sheerin Sheikh, a class VI student, hails from Nizammudin, Delhi saw women had to spend a lot of time and effort in mixing and sieving clay through a small sieve. She has given an idea of making a contraption with a series of sieves though which clay water mixture will be made to pass through and the water will be recycled. She said, “Unke haath chhil jaate hai, mitti me kankar hote hai na” (their hands get bruised while mixing as the clay has small pebbles). So, she thought that this process could be automated.

DSC_0111Children who went to teen darwaza and Lal darwaza found the street vendors had to stand in the scorching sun all throughout the day. They would cover their things with plastic if rains came and if they were not quick, some of their merchandize could be damaged. So while Rajubhai Padaliya, class 11, Patdi thought of a foldable chair to be attached to the cart, Sunil Sankadiya, a class 9 student of Lokmitra, Dedhuki thought of a cart with a foldable chair for sitting and solar power lamps. His idea was that as the cart were anyway put up uner the sun throughout the day, solar energy could be used to light the lamps at night. He also made it pedal operated. Shirin wished for a foldable roof to protect the goods on the cart from the rains.

Another group visited the broom makers near  Naroda Phatak. They  saw that their hands were bruised while tying the aluminium wires on the broom. Their hands and shoulder would pain due to constant beating of broom on nails to make finer leaves. Vishal, Mann, Shailesh suggested various ideas using a drum covered with nails and attached to a pedal. So when they move the pedal, leaves can be pierced well into fibres increasing their efficiency. Nathubhai gave a slightly different idea. He said “Both the tyres need to have nails and one could pedal these to move the axle. So two broom leaves can be separated out at a time.”

As they were seasonal migrants, their children would miss schools. Manan suggested a Mobile Bus. He said, “ If you can’t come to school , school will come to you. It has all the basic facilities like benches, blackboards, books, etc.”

Children who visited Pirana found women used to collect deodorant bottles and remove the caps with stones. When they remove the cap gas comes out and continuous usage of stone is strenuous. The collect the metal body and sell it. Mamata, a class VII student from Dedhuki suggested that we should Design a metal cutter and cap remover which is cost effective and reduces efforts. She made a drawing of the cutter.

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During the previous Children Creativity Camp which was held as a part of the Festival of Innovations in the Rashtrapati Ahmed razaBhawan in March, Ahmed Raza (class 4 then and class 5 now) gave an idea of stacking the used disposable glasses instead of collecting them in a basket.This would allow more waste glasses be accomodated in a small space. We found that in two arm of the stand about 750 disposable glasses would be collected as against 150 collected in a box. When he presented his idea to the group here, Jalpa, a student of class 6 from Dedhuki suggested that the stand could have a thread which would make it easier to take out the glasses like a garland. And value was added. One Kid’s idea was taken forward by another. They did not become stingy about sharing their Ideas with each other which grown-ups often do.

Their eyes could see beyond various socio-economic and cultural barriers. Not all the ideas might work or be feasible but that did not stop them from ideating, from empathizing with communities they visited and generating solutions. Some of these ideas are now being worked upon by the Engineering and design students in the SRISTI-UNICEF summer school. Parth from IET, Ahmedabad University is working on the educational watch and participants from Thapar Engineering College are working on the broom making machine. Bhargava Reddy from Delhi University is trying to help the cotton boll pickers who are generally women and children. Rohit from Pune is trying to make an affordable all season tent and its joineries. Priya (IIT GOA) and Pranjal (Thapar Engg. College), Gaurav (NIT Agartala) are planning to work with the street vendors. Nikhil (SRM University) is trying to work on brake loading. Akhil, Vishal and Vaibhav from IIT Delhi are working on making a affordable metal cutter. This workshop is supported by UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre and IET Ahmedabad University and Honey Bee Network Institutions.

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