The Washing Machine Project

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

By Aaina Chopra.

Navjot Sawhney, an engineering student, recognised a problem on a trip he took to India while studying his masters.

Whilst he was building cookstoves on sabbatical from his engineering degree, his neighbour, Divya, spent hours a day handwashing clothes for her family. He was shocked because Divya would spend so much time whilst suffering from a backache and cracked skin as a result of the handwashing. Nav knew that there was a machine that could do it for her, thus; The Washing Machine Project began!

After further research, Nav found that 70% of the world’s population do not have access to a washing machine- a shocking number; and women often carry the burden of washing the families clothes - some spending up to 20 hours a week washing clothes!

Thus, developing a solution to this became all the more important.

Due to constraints with electricity, water consumption and cost, Nav used his engineering degree to develop a manual washing machine. The washing machine’s cycle takes only 15 minutes and uses recycled materials. Hence Nav developed a washing machine that is made from a development and humanitarian perspective - this has never been done before!

Nav named the machine Divya after his neighbour and has taken the project beyond just India.

The Washing Machine Project has partnered with Oxfam and the Iraq Innovation Lab to take their work to Iraqi Internally Displaced Persons camps, where they are distributing the machines daily. This alleviates the burden of handwashing clothes and allows those in the camp to live with clean clothes - a truly inspiring story!

To find out more about the project you can visit the website here - and donate to the crowdfunding campaign to support the project look here -

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