Cardboard Bookbags Unfold Into Desks For Schoolchildren

Arts & Culture

Aarambh converted discarded boxes into classroom furniture that can also be used as school bags for developing nations.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 22 may 2014

Many of the schools in the rural areas of India lack the basic necessities like school bags and proper chairs and desks, which is why school children end up sitting on the floor all day just to learn. This kind of situation in the classroom does nothing for the kids’ posture and their concentration levels since they hunch their backs to do their work on the floor. The kids also end up with bad eyesight and bad handwriting from their awkward position.

To help solve this problem, New Bombay-based not-for-profit organization Aarambh came up with the Help Desk, a dual-function portable desk made out of recycled cardboard boxes. The portable desk can also be turned into a school bag so that the children will have a proper bag to keep their books and notebooks instead of the plastic bags that most of the children carry.

The organization collected used carton boxes from retail outlets, corporate offices, and recycling centers. They also created a stencil design for the desk and cut out the design from the used cardboard boxes. The cut pattern could then be folded into a small desk for kids. The portable desk can also be re-folded into a briefcase-like book bag for the children.


Aarambh distributed the Help Desks to schools in the rural areas of Maharashtra, a state in the western region of India. The school children who received the Help Desks were able to study more comfortably with the dual-function cardboard product.

The Help Desks served as an eco-friendly, economical, and portable solution to some of the most common problems of the rural areas – all for less than 20 cents per piece.

Aarambh is a non-government organization that was created as a Community Service Center for the marginalized families living in the rural areas and in the urban slum communities in India. The organization has various programs that aim to provide these marginalized families with basic education, health, and vocational skills.

Take a look at the video below posted by DDB Worldwide to learn more about the project.


[h/t] Huffington Post

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