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HelpKid -Kit : home

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How did this design improve life?:
HelpKid – Kit has been conceived to improve the life of children who have suffered a disaster like earthquake, flood or tsunami and have been separated from their family or guardians. They might have nobody to trust or help them so the purpose of HelpKid – Kit is to provide them with the most urgently needed shelter and warmth, physically and emotionally. Usually children’s immediate crisis needs, like first aid, medicine, hunger, thirst and hygienic needs are taken care of shortly after the disaster, when aid organizations arrive. Help Kid – Kit concentrates on children who have lost everything. They have their help kit to give them a feeling of security and something to hang on to, because everything else is lost.

HelpKid – Kit includes a little backpack/ tent, a small mattress, a blanket and a teddy bear pillow. In addition, the kit has some paper and pens for children to draw and write. Depending on the situational need, the kit can be extended by added hygienic products, like a towel, soap, water purifying tablets, salt and sugar powders for diarrhea, some food and a children’s plate or mug. The package is therefore adaptable depending on need. The concept is to develop different kits to help children and their guardians in different situations, to help them to restart their lives. HelpKid Kit is an example of the concept.

The primary idea behind the kit is to give people who can afford to help others in need a more personal channel to donate aid. For each kit purchased, part of the money would go to the products in the kit, and part of it to paying for the food and other necessities. They would know exactly where the money is going and what they are getting for it. For example, if you buy three kits, you help three children. In some cases it may be possible to inform the donor of the recipients personal details and circumstances. Ultimately the idea is to provide a personal experience for donors and to therefore encourage donation from those who would be more comfortable with a more targeted and personal form of donation.
Name of Designer(s):
Tanja Tuulia Sipilä
Designers professional status:
Student
Status of realization:
Not realized
Kind of design:
Intangible design
Year of production, realization or publishing:
2005
Designed in country:
Finland
Used on continents:
Entire World
Short description of design:
KidHelp–Kit is an aid pack designed to alleviate the physical and emotional discomfort of children who have suffered a disaster. The pack includes a variety of things aimed specifically at easing children’s loss. The packs will be bought by private donors and distributed by aid agencies where they are needed.
Functionallity and use of design:
The product is conceived to function differently in different situations. Only the little backpack/tent is constant, as all the other items will be stored inside that. The production would be coordinated with aid organizations, wherever possible using their own logistical channels, in order to keep aid delivery efficient and cost–effective.
Drawbacks of life improvement:
There are potential problems with producing the HelpKid – Kit. There is the whole process of producing, finding and choosing the individual items for the kit. The process has to protect ecological and ethical values, for example, ensuring the products are manufactured responsibly, and from where the products or their constituents are sourced. It is unacceptable that suffering is increased in one place so that is may be alleviated in another.

An additional problem is ensuring even distribution to all children in need. One can imagine that if only half the children receive a help pack, those lacking will be envious. So the donations should be collected constantly, before needed, so aid organizations always have enough kits for children who have been separated from or have lost their parents.

Other potential problems might include environmental damage caused by mass abandonment of the kits after children are relocated, or inadvertent insult caused to local cultures whose social mores may be different to ours in the west. Ensuring cultural sensitivity by producing packs for different regions of the world might alleviate this potential problem. Collecting packs and their contents for late reuse might be feasible in some cases, helping to lessen the impact of the first problem.
Research and need:
The core idea for the HelpKid –Kit came from thinking about what people really need out of the mountain of products out there. Once something happens that wipes away everything, people have to concentrate on basic needs. That kind of disaster can happen anywhere, as we have just witnessed on the 26th of December 2004.

In designing the kit the designer engaged in research with the cooperation of the Red Cross and Unicef organizations in Finland. The designer has been interviewing people in those organizations and discussing the need for the kind of help that the kit can provide. The mission is difficult and the concept is just developing, but the designer wants to continue working on this issue with international organizations. There should be more individual help for people who have suffered from some natural or human made catastrophe.
After much research, the designer concluded that there is no product like this already in production. However, There are some similar kits that are for hygiene or a School in a box, and there is a family kit. Surely money is a big issue, when a lot of help is needed quickly. The help kit is designed to make it easier for average people to make a personal and more frequent donation, thereby allowing the creation of kits during periods when there is emergency.
 

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