Innovation That Matters

Upcycling boxes

Designer creates supply boxes that double as toys for refugee children

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Young Dutch designer wants to give new life to the cardboard boxes used to transport relief packages.

We have already seen the growing trend in innovative ways to support efforts to relieve hunger and poverty, for example a biodegradable ‘carpet’ that uses human waste to rejuvenate infertile soil, and the eco-friendly shelters built from recycled plastics. Now, a new project combines the personal and the practical, by giving cardboard boxes a dual purpose, and providing children with games to play.

Project Inside the Box was dreamed up by Lisanne Koning for her thesis project at Design Academy Eindhoven. The Dutch designer wished there could be room for children’s toys and games to be sent in relief packages, which can only contain essential food and medicine, and from there was born her innovative idea. The insides of the boxes are printed with colorful shapes and game boards which refugee children can assemble and play with. There is a board game which is similar to Candy Land for example, while she has also designed a truck which children can cut out and build into a three-dimensional toy. Koning believes that play is essential for children in disaster-stricken areas as it can help them to cope. She thinks that every child deserves the right to play, and in her own words her project means that “the aid boxes are not wasted, but get a new life, brightening the days of the most vulnerable.”

This unique idea is yet to be put into practice, however it could mark the beginning of a trend to help children living in poverty in a broader sense. Inside the Box emphasizes the importance of play in addition to meeting their basic needs such as food and water. How else could aid packages be adapted to bring joy to impoverished communities? Perhaps this project will inspire other creative ways to help those in need in an efficient way?




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