GLOBAL ROTOMOULDING INDUSTRY SUPPORTING LIFEBOARD CAMPAIGN FOR AFRICAN SCHOOL CHILDREN
In the rotomoulding (rotomolding) industry we are constantly striving to find new products and markets often pushing the limits of design and producing ever more complex products.Sometimes however it is the products that at face value appear to be relatively simple that are the most successful."Why didn't I think of that?"It is all about meeting customer needs and when it comes to the Lifeboard Project in South Africa we are talking about the educational needs of a million rural school children.The Lifeboard is an excellent example of a relatively simple but well-designed rotomoulded product that has the potential to make a very real difference to the lives of rural South African children - thanks to the vision of Clinton Khaled and Gordon White of East Coast Moulders (ECM) in Durban South Africa.
Where did the Lifeboard Project start?Gordon White of ECM became involved through his local church in Durban South Africa - through an outreach programme with their sister church Chelstone Presbyterian in Lusaka Zambia.As Gordon says "Chelstone do not have a wealthy congregation and once a year our church visits them with some resources. Upon their return from Zambia in March 2007 some slides from the trip were shown to our congregation. Some of the slides were of Kasenga School that they were trying to build for the children in the Kasenga area. I was amazed that these people who have so little were caring for those who had even less so I got permission to get involved.My business partner Clint wanted to get involved as well and during the next year while tools water tanks and wheelbarrows were collected to build the school Lifeboard was born".
Conventional desks were desperately needed by the school but as the school was being built there was no place to store them and the portable desk concept was developed.The only product that Gordon could find on the market was the Lapdesk originally designed in the UK in 1975.However this product was not suited to the needs of rural children and so ECM set about designing the Lifeboard.The product had to be comfortable for a child to use but also had to be light enough to be carried between home and school - rather than a piece of wood or a slab of fibreglass.It also had to carry water as the children had to walk long distances between school and home.The Lifeboard had also to be used as an eating surface.ECM's patent searches lead him to discover that there is no comparable product available in this form or combination or in any material.
Another important design aspect is the closure.Gordon says "Because of the remoteness of the school from our factory we had to be very thoughtful as regards the closure and the thread we used.Kids will be kids and one can be absolutely certain that the closures would be lost!After some thought we copied the thread and dimensions of a well-known beverage closure that we knew would be sold in literally every village on the planet."
The result was the Lifeboard a product designed and developed to meet the specific needs of some 120 school children in Zambia who needed a product that could be a substitute for a school desk dining room table and liquid container.ECM being a small company could not afford the initial moulds and were therefore very pleased when Verimould a Durban based tool making company assisted by making the two CNC aluminium moulds at cost.
The Lifeboard Project has the potential to generate an enormous amount of positive publicity for the sponsors through well published presentations to school children and through media releases.Many South African corporations already have ongoing social responsibility programmes and the Lifeboard Project fits in well with these programmes.
Lifeboard can also be used as an educational aid.Through the application of specific Mold In GraphicsTM such as multiplication tables alphabets conversion tables etc. the Lifeboard becomes a useful learning aid.Mold In Graphic SystemsTM is supporting the programme and assisting the sponsors by meeting all graphic creation costs.This includes the artwork development as well as printing plate costs.
All Lifeboards are handed over to the children and not to the school.This helps foster self-esteem through ownership.Ownership of an appreciated asset makes the child realise that his/her peers feel the same way about their Lifeboards and teaches the child respect for the property of others.
Clive Robertson Vice President of ARMSA and Sales Director of Lomotek Polymers has the last word on the Lifeboard Project "...Above all the Lifeboard has the ability to address an acute problem found in so many developing countries - education!"
For further information on the Lifeboard Project including possible sponsorship opportunities please contact Leisa Donlan CEO of the Association of Rotational Moulders Australasia who are co-ordinating the global response.
Lifeboards costs approximately $10.00 or 5 Euro which makes every dollar count. Remember the board are given directly to the children no money is taken for administration or distribution so you can be assured that every penny you or your company donate goes to benefit the children.
Leisa Donlan "ARMA is asking the entire global industry to donate even in these difficult days of financial crisis to a project that brings lifesaving water and education to children in need for a very small outlay.Our aim is to ensure one million children receive Lifeboards in the next two years through a combination of industry donations and by working together with international aid organisations."
SPONSORS OF THE LIFEBOARD CAMPAIGN
DRAM srl recently became the first international donor to the Lifeboard project. DRAM srl are based in Milan Italy and supply a range of accessory products to the rotational moulding industry. They are European agents and distributors for a number of international companies including Drader Manufacturing Industries (plastic welding equipment) LaPlastecnica (Supavent system) and Mold In Graphic Systems® (permanent Mold In GraphicsTM and enhancement technologies). Further information on their range of products can be found on http://www.dramsrl.com/
Association of Rotational Moulders Australasia, Inc.
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