A London-born Indian engineer’s project to supply low-cost washing machines to countries like India, where hand washing remains a time-consuming activity, has gotten off to a good start after field research in camps in Iraq.
Navjot Sawhney, who started his Washing Machine Project three years ago to deliver energy-efficient manual washing machines to low-income regions, worked with volunteers and partners to conduct research prior to delivery.
The organization has also launched a crowdfunding call on Just Giving to raise £10,000 to support the delivery process.
“At the Washing Machine Project, we believe in the power of innovation to empower lives. That’s why we developed an off-grid, manual washing machine that saves 60-70 percent time and 50 percent water for people in low-income and low-income communities. displaced persons,” notes the charity.
“This idea grew out of a friendship. Nav, our founder, was on a sabbatical in rural South India making clean cooking stoves when he met his neighbor Divya. It was through their conversations at the end of each day that Nav came to realize the significant burden that unpaid work places on women,” it notes.
Mr Sawhney was on a sabbatical from his engineering career in the UK when he came up with the idea of a handheld washing machine.
“When I was in Tamil Nadu I lived in a small village called Kuilapalayam. The community had limited access to continuous electricity and the water was turned on twice a day,” recalled Mr Sawhney.
“My neighbor Divya and I became excellent friends. As we talked, she washed her clothes by hand. I was always so shocked at how long and how much effort it would take to complete the relatively unproductive task,” he said.
This led him to come up with the “Divya 1.5” model of his manual washing machine, inspired by a simple salad spinner. Now 30 of the Divya 1.5 will be used at Mamrashan Refugee Camp in Iraq with the help of the charity Care International. It is expected to positively impact 300 people and save up to 750 hours per year per household, equivalent to two months of daylight. Mr. Sawhney plans to go to Iraq in early September to help distribute the machines.
Later this year, the Washing Machine Project plans to carry out assignments for refugee camps in Jordan. Ultimately, these machines are planned to be shipped to other parts of the world, including India and Africa.
“It’s not just Divya who carries this burden. We spoke with women and communities in 11 different countries around the world, including Lebanon, the Philippines and Cameroon. In those communities, we met children as young as six years old who started helping with This is harmful not only to their education, but also to their childhood; to be the child,” notes the project.
“There are many health risks associated with washing clothes, especially contracting infections and waterborne illnesses from direct contact with contaminated water sources,” it adds.