Science for the benefit of people. All people. Worldwide.
In Bangladesh alone, there are 10 to 15 million disabled people who should be taken care of. Many of them are children and young adults, who cannot be toilet trained. A diaper-like solution would make sense, but there is no diaper culture, and the ones that are available are expensive and environmentally unfriendly. Therefore Niketan, a Dutch foundation supporting care for mentally disabled children in Bangladesh, initiated the creation of the Dayapara: an environmentally, user and helper friendly alternative for the Western diaper. And they enlisted the help of Industrial Design-students at Delft University of Technology.
The project had a huge surprise in store for them. “We started working on a product for disabled children: a low-cost, bio-degradable diaper. But we ended up changing the lives of their mothers, giving them more peace and a better relationship with their child.” How did this happen? The first question the students asked themselves at the beginning of their research concerned the culture of the people they were going to design for. How do they live, what does it mean to be disabled or to be the mother of a disabled child in Bangladesh? They were confronted with mothers who had a lot on their mind: more children to take care of, a household to run and little freedom to leave their house. The alternative diaper does not only cause better hygiene for the child, it also gives mother and child more freedom. The mother can go out and visit family, the city or the Niketan day-care. And last but not least, there’s a bigger chance the child will be approached by others, not smelling so bad and attracting so many flies. “The diaper seemed like such a small step towards the improvement of their lives. But it turned out to be a first and big step towards more freedom for mother and child.”
Co-workers: Misja van Sitteren, Marjorie Bakker, Ruddy Rodriguez, Annemiek van Boeijen and Wouter Kersten
Well-being, acceptance, biodegradability, affordability, understandability
Human-centred design, diaper (partly) made of a plant
Niketan (Bangladesh), Enviu