Design of bamboo cradle for Barakat Bundle

The Barakat Bundle bamboo cradle and sensory toy

We completed this project for Barakat Bundle, a Harvard incubated non-profit, looking at the issue of infant and maternal health in South Asia. Barakat Bundles works with local communities to create and distribute live-saving care and education ‘bundles’ for mothers and new-borns in need.

Render of bamboo folding cradle design

A low-cost cradle and sensory toy for infants in need, were a key part of Barakat Bundle’s vision. Based on their brief, we designed a low-cost bamboo cradle, and sensory toy for base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) infants in India.

Woman producer of fabric component of the cradle

The idea was to create a bamboo cradle that could provide livelihood generation to poor producers using materials that contributed to ecological sustainability. Bamboo was selected because it is highly renewable and lightweight, and textile was included to allow women-producers participation in the value-chain.

New mothers with their Barakat Bundles ready to go home with their infants

From the perspective of the user, the aim was to create a foldable and easy to assemble cradle, which could be carried on a two-wheeler or public transport that a woman who has just delivered, and is travelling home with her baby, would have access to in rural India. We therefore designed the structure to be lightweight, and with an intuitive folding system. 

Mother at home with her infant safely sleeping in the bamboo cradle

Careful attention was paid to ensuring the design met the highest international safety standards and guidelines. We adhered to every guideline to ensure that both the cradle and the sensory toy are completely safe for infants across the world.

The handmade sensory toy

The sensory toy was designed after studying the learning milestones of infants, and keeping in mind typical Indian BoP behaviour and access. The toy was designed to be manufacturable by women producers across India with sewing skills, and easy to clean by washing. The toy uses textile scraps, and so addresses the issue of waste, and how to channelize it into another material cycle. The form of the toy was of kites and a firki, to keep the product relatable to the backgrounds of the users.

The Rhizome team worked on design, testing in field and in labs alongside the Barakat Bundle team. The final design was a result of close collaboration and feedback mechanisms between all the stakeholders.