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The purpose of this semester long project was to design something focused around humanitarianism, sustainability and/or social equity. I created una, which means 'by one way' in latin, to better the world by providing education to children around the world. Una has three missions: to teach children basic concepts through educational kits, make the kits as sustainable as possible, and aid in providing education to children in third world countries by donating 15% of the profits earned by the kits to Pencils of Promise.
There are three different kits, each focusing on science concepts that can be learned through three experiments. The topics for the three kits are biology, chemistry and electrical. Each experiment has a limit of three items provided to make the kit have less unnecessary waste. Therefore, many of the experiments use the aid of common household products in addition to the provided items. This promotes the kids to continueusing basic household items to learn after all the kit activities are completed. The packaging of the few materials is also sustainable, using recycled paper and fused recycled plastic. The kit's packaging uses a very unique folding to securely house all the materials, then double as the instructions when completely unfolded to reduce paper waste from having instructions.
The purpose of this semester long project was to design something focused around humanitarianism, sustainability or social equity. With these objectives, I created a company, una, which aims to tackle all three tasks. Una is focused on bettering the world by providing education to children around the world. Una has three missions: to teach children basic concepts through educational kits, make the kits as sustainable as possible, and aid in providing education to children in third world countries by donating 15% of the profits earned by the kits to Pencils of Promise.
I chose to name the company una, which means 'by one way' in latin, because by purchasing a kit we can all help in bettering the world through education. Una's logo was inspired by the idea that if everyone would put effort into helping, we could change the world together. The logo is the world on a fingerprint to convey the message that each of us has put our 'print' on the world, and each of us can make a difference.
From the beginning I knew I wanted to make a product that helped children, which I chose to focus on education. I wanted to create something that made education fun for children, therefore wanted a hands on activity. I studied many things on how the left side of the brain focused on logistics and the right side is more creative and interactive. Many products today only focus on one or the other, but I wanted my product to interact with both the left and right side of the brain to provide holistic learning approach to scientific concepts. Therefore, I developed three kits, biology, chemistry and electricity, each providing materials and instructions for three hands-on activities to teach children a concept pertaining to the topics.
I designed the kits to focus on science, each kit focusing on a different aspect of it, including biology, chemistry and electricity. The biology kit would focus on how plants interact with people, how plants use water, and how roots are affected depending on environment. The chemistry kit would allow kids to use recipes to create magnet silly putty, a bouncy ball and grow crystals. The electrical kit would show how different items can be used to create electricity. Each kit contain items and easy to understand instructions for the 3 experiments. The experiments were designed for children 5 years old and up, to create a more hands-on learning experience through holistic learning.
I have a passion for children, so when given the opportunity to help them I attempted to do as much as I could. Therefore, in addition to educating children in developed countries, I was driven to do more so I set my focus on developing countries. After researching how I could help, I realized I wanted to help the world in general, which required all children being educated. This is a huge challenge that many are not addressing. With one out of eight children, 250 million children, lacking the basic skills of primary education and 84% of those children living in third world countries, something has to be done. Although some companies are trying to help, it is very difficult to do so. After research, I discovered the buy-one-give-one business structure isn't sustainable, practical or useful. As a result, I chose not directly give to children in third world countries, but to donate to a company that is using donations to help communities build schools in poverty areas, Pencils of Promise. Throughout the semester, I communicated many times with Pencils of Promise, which aims to bring life-changing education to children around the world by building quality schools and sustainable education. As a result, una’s moto became ‘1 kit, 1 child, 1 year at a time.’
Through these kits, I would donate a part of the profit to help fund one year of education for a child in need. I would partner with Pencils of Promise, which ‘brings life-changing education to children around the world by building quality schools and sustainable educational programs.’ With education costing as little as $15 per year in some countries, so with every kit sold, we help fund one year of education for a child in need in hopes to raise the quality of life in third world countries.
With nearly 900,000,000 trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills each year and an estimated 8 billion pounds of plastic bags, wraps and sacks enter the waste stream every year in the US, I also wanted to challenge myself to make the kits as sustainable as possible. When developing the activities for the kits, I limited myself to choosing experiments that required a maximum of three materials, or using common household items that I would not need to supply. I also experimented with many different types of materials to create the packaging for the kits and how to make the manufacturing process as eco-friendly as possible.
Una would be committed to use as few resources as possible and take into accountthe environmental impact we have on the planet. I have designed a geometrical exterior packaging, which would also double as the instructions for the different activities in the kits, out of recycled paper that is biodegradable. The smaller items, packaged inside the kits for the experiments, use recycled plastic bags fused together to make a stronger plastic, using no adhesives, and also a seed paper pulp that can are planted during an experiment. Along with using eco-friendly packaging materials, una would also aim to have a minimal carbon footprint when manufacturing the kits.
This project really touched my heart...I was really quite impressed with the solution proposed.