For students who have a paucity of facilities in their schools, daily learning becomes a pain. For example, Shruti, a Class 2 student of the Kanpur government school would earlier sit on the floor, her back bent as she studied.
However, her new lightweight school-bag has a detachable table, which might help ease the burden.
Scores of children pan-India might benefit from DESKIT, an initiative by an IIT-Kanpur graduate named Eshan Sadasivan. Weighing just 1 kilo, the bag will help school students write without pain, allowing them to maintain proper body posture.
Costing Rs 400, the bag has a detachable plywood study table with foldable legs made of Mild Steel tubes, weighing only 680 grams. The table is attached to the bag’s front flap, to avoid contact with the student’s back.
The Indian Express reports that Eshan was inspired to make this contraption, when, during his IIT-Kanpur tenure, he saw students of government schools in nearby areas working sans infrastructure, both at school and at home. That is what motivated the 27-year old to start DESKIT. He recalls how happy the kids were when they were presented with the bag. Elaborating on their health concerns, he speaks of their back pain issues at a tender age, which was affecting their interest in academics, amongst other things.
Eshan obviously has done something right–around 17,000 students are using the bag, in more than ten states, he says. He speaks of a newer version with an LED lamp for facilitating night-studies.
Eshan runs PROSOC, which is the abbreviated form of Products for Society while pursuing his PhD on social entrepreneurship from IIT Kanpur. Initial progress was slow, as NGOs and corporates would not be interested in the beginning. He speaks optimistically of things picking up, citing collaborations with the Telangana government, and ongoing talks with other state governments, including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. Eshan said that several firms are implementing DESKIT under their CSR activities.
PROSOC got a grant of Rs 20-lakh from the Central Government under the PRISM (Promoting Innovations in Individuals, Startups and MSMEs) and NIDHI (National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations) Prayas schemes. The company has also received international assistance from the Government of Scotland for its innovation.
Eshan wants to come up with more innovative products in various domains, to help and empower people at the bottom of the pyramid, across sectors. Speaking of the little breakthrough in hardware product innovation in the education sector, he says that innovation in this space will motivate kids to attend school. Which is why, besides education, the company is also working in the agricultural and livelihood sectors.
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Well, at least for now, kids as young as seven, like Shruti, mentioned above, will not be demotivated from education because of back-pain during their pre-teen years.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)