ADN’s President Meets the Youngest Innovator in Mumbai, India
By: Dr. Nibedita Ray-Bennett
On the 11th of January 2020, I met Arkoneil Ghosh via Skype, assisted by his mum Rini Sinha Ghosh. Arkoneil is our ADN’s Junior Champion based in Mumbai, India. He is ten years of age.
Arkoneil enthusiastically told me about his novel project, which he is leading with his school friends in the slums of Dharavi in Mumbai. His project involves developing toilets and improving living conditions for the under-privileged children in Dharavi. Dharavi is the largest slum in Asia and most households do not have access to clean drinking water and toilets. ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’ is currently the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6.
Arkoneil has been working with the children of Dharavi to design toilets using Lego models. According to Arkoneil, “these Lego toilets will be accessible to all”. The children have done baseline research and chalked out the plan for operation. They have divided the slums into clusters of 100 households and each cluster will have one resource point. This resource point will offer clean drinking water, Lego toiles and a garbage collecting point. This resource point will be accessible to the householders using radio frequency identification (RFID) cards.
Arkoneil’s project has been shortlisted for the national competition conducted by Indian Stem Foundation https://indiastemfoundation.org/
When I asked Arkoneil what motivated him to do this project, Arkoneil answered: “helping underprivileged children is my passion. I love robotics. I began doing robotics when I was seven years of age. I love theatre, learning languages and blending robotics to solve real problems of our society. Robotic programming is at the heart of designing this Lego toilet in Dharavi.”.
Arkoneil asked me if I could help him upscale his project. I have invited Arkoneil to speak at the ADN’s forthcoming international workshop in Bhubaneswar in India in March 2020, and tell us more about his project.
According to the United Nations, “a toilet is more than just a toilet. It’s a life-saver, dignity-protector and opportunity-maker”. We hope that through Arkoneil’s innovative project, we will be able to engage with the underprivileged children living in risky locations and understand their challenges not just limited to sanitation, but also to school, health care, food, shelter – among other things.