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How a Bamboo Lamp May Light the Way to a Better Life in Mumbai

Dutch designer Pepe Heykoop teaches residents of a Mumbai slum to make his designs as a new source of income.

How can design help some of the poorest residents of Mumbai, India break out of the cycle of poverty? Dutch designer Pepe Heykoop works with the Tiny Miracles Foundation creating new products and training community members how to make them as a source of income.


Like the name suggests, Tiny Miracles Foundation aims to make small changes that lead to shifts in a larger system. They've focused on one specific goal: helping 700 people, living in a slum in Mumbai's red light district, move from "very poor" to "middle class" in the next ten years.

Along with education—both for parents and children—and providing access to basic amenities like clean drinking water, the foundation also gives families the means to make an income. In the past, the community's economy relied on making and selling cane baskets, but demand dwindled. Heykoop's new designs have replaced the baskets and created the opportunity to reach a global market.

[vimeo][/vimeo]

The designs include a paper sculpture that can be placed over any bottle to create a vase, a lamp made of bamboo sticks, and another lamp that uses copper recycled from electrical wires. Check out the full collection here.

Images courtesy of Pepe Heykoop and Tiny Miracles Foundation

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