Women in India spend up to 352 minutes (approximately five hours) every day tending to household chores. Several are forced to handle multiple roles at a time — from cleaning the house to cooking meals, before they can leave for work.
In Madhya Pradesh’s Dokrikheda village, 14-year-old Navshri Thakur’s mother Rajini Bai was facing the same problem. She would wake up early in the morning to prepare food for the family and leave to work in the fields until the evening.
“My elder sister and I help my mother out so she can leave for work on time. Sometimes, there are chores pending and she will have to finish them in the evening after returning from work. We cannot help her at that time, because we are studying,” says Navshri, a Class 10 student of Girls High School, Pipariya in an interview with The Better India.
Simplifying chores for mum
In 2019, to give her mum an extra set of hands to simplify household work, Navshri decided to innovate a device that can do different tasks.
“First, I imagined and drew a rough device on paper. I applied simple scientific principles that can help my mother cut vegetables and prepare other dishes at the same time. However, to improve the design and to develop a real-time prototype, I approached my school science teacher Aradhana Patel for guidance,” says Navshri.
Aradhana consulted a few carpenters to understand whether the design would work. Based on their advice, the device was altered and, by 2021, replicated. It was named Multi-Use Kitchen Machine.
The device, which can be operated by hands, has eight functions including cutting vegetables, extracting juice, crushing spices, rolling rotis, among others. It is made using teak wood, steel plates, cups and more. To purchase the materials, funds were provided by the National Innovation Foundation.
“The device is like building blocks. It has removable parts that serve different purposes. It was built with the help of a carpenter in our locality and cost less than Rs 3,000. When all the fittings are removed, it can be folded into one plank,” says Navshri, adding that she gave her innovation a tagline, Jhat-Phat Kaam, Maa Ko Aaram (Quick work and relief for mom).
To test the prototype’s efficiency, Navshri’s mother used this device during her daily cooking for a few weeks. She says that the device helped her finish preparing dishes faster, and was easy to clean.
“Usually, I require multiple utensils to cut vegetables, crush garlic, extract lemon juice, etc. But with this device, I can do all the activities in one place. Thanks to this, there are fewer utensils to wash after cooking,” Rajini Bai says.
Further, the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) has given the INSPIRE award to Navshri and are in the process of patenting her design.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)