The Light Pin Pro­ject

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Can de­sign­ers solve ma­jor hu­man­i­tar­ian prob­lems such as the is­sue of refugees? No, but de­sign­ers can surely play an im­mensely valu­able role along the en­tire chain. As the num­ber of refugees in the world hits a stag­ger­ing 60 mil­lion, there’s a grow­ing need to come up with in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions ded­i­cated to help such a vul­ner­a­ble group and in­flu­ence change.

The team at Beirut-based in­de­pen­dent agency Republique took up the chal­lenge to tackle such a huge cri­sis and do some­thing pos­i­tive that could lead to change in the life of the refugees.

The pro­ject has started as part of an in­ter­nal chal­lenge to hack so­cial prob­lems and use cre­ativ­ity and de­sign ideas for greater good. By con­tribut­ing time, skills and re­sources, the team, fu­eled by an in­cred­i­ble en­thu­si­asm, worked on find­ing a cre­ative so­lu­tion that could im­prove the lives of refugees.

Af­ter iden­ti­fy­ing one of the main prob­lems refugees face on a day to day ba­sis, be­ing the no ac­cess to elec­tric­ity, and to re­place the costly and haz­ardous Kerosene lamps and can­dles used as al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions in most of the refugee camps, The Light Pin Pro­ject was born.

“Our re­search started by vis­it­ing camps. We no­ticed that most of the camps are looka­like with each fam­ily liv­ing in and av­er­age 3x3 me­ter tent space with a laun­dry line hang­ing out­side. We found the so­lu­tion in laun­dry,” ex­plains Fadi Mroue, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Republique. “This led us to work on find­ing a sus­tain­able, low cost and com­pact so­lu­tion that would re­place gas and can­dles.”

The re­sult is a clothes­pin equipped with a so­lar panel to store enough en­ergy dur­ing the day to light up an LED lamp at night. And this is how a sim­ple every­day ob­ject got turned into a life-sav­ing so­lu­tion.

“An av­er­age clothes­pin spends around eight hours in the sun every­day. We took those hours and put them to good use. We cre­ated the world’s first so­lar clothes­pin. All a per­son has to do is its laun­dry dur­ing day time and then bring home the clothes­pin at night and con­nect it to a low cost LED lamp that would give light for sev­eral hours,” says Mroue.

Sim­ple, ac­ces­si­ble and ef­fec­tive, Light­pin is be­ing in­te­grated into the daily lives of refugees in camps around the coun­try and the feed­back has been tremen­dous so far. Republique has plans to take it global in the up­com­ing year.

As a clos­ing note, we can’t but ap­plause this ini­tia­tive, which was de­vel­oped and solely funded by Republique, who has clearly un­der­stood that com­pa­nies and brands can’t re­main dis­in­ter­ested in so­cial is­sues any longer.

It is also a great re­minder that the de­sign pro­fes­sion is not only about beauty or aes­thet­ics, but also about of­fer­ing al­ter­na­tives, con­tribut­ing so­lu­tions to press­ing so­cial is­sues and open­ing new per­spec­tives. We hope that this pro­ject in­spires more agen­cies to clearly re-think out their prin­ci­ples on so­cial change and em­bark their cre­ative forces to solve cur­rent is­sues that hit close to home.

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