Photo: The GiraDora - How a Washer and Dryer Can Change the Lives of Thousands of Peruvians and the World
A human-powered washer and dryer has been created to specifically address issues faced by those living in poverty in Lima, Peru.
Known as the GiraDora, the innovative creation is not just about helping Peruvians get stains out. It is so much more than that.
The GiraDora is a human-powered washer and spin dryer that increases the efficiency and improves the experience of washing clothes by hand.
It’s foot-powered designs also allows for a more comfortable alternative to washing clothes verses the back- and wrist-breaking work of using a washboard. The seated operation of GiraDora is much more comfortable and ergonomic than women’s current practice of squatting over basins on the ground thereby helping to alleviate chronic lower back pain.
The Peruvian weather often results in washed clothes taking up to three weeks to dry when simply hung up. This also causes mold to grow on the garments which has been known to cause many respiratory problems in children, including asthma. By using the GiraDora to remove the majority of the moisture from the clothing, the risk of mold growth is drastically reduced.
The $40 device was created after a research team spent two weeks doing field research and observation in Lima’s Cerro Verde 30,000-person slum. They witnessed these Peruvians spending a large portion of their time collecting water for a number of basic tasks and realized “so much time, energy, and resources are used for basic water chores like cooking and cleaning. It leaves little time for other activities that might help one get out of poverty.” The major time-suck being the process of washing clothes.
About a year ago, two design students named Alex Cabunoc and Ji A You traveled from their homes in Los Angeles to Cerro Verde, a 30,000 person slum outside of Lima. As students in the celebrated Design Matters program at Art Center College of Design, which focuses on social innovation, they had come to Cerro Verde as part of a special studio called Safe Agua Peru. Their goal? Develop a commercial product that alleviates issues related to water poverty, targeted at people who earn between $4 and $10 a day.
The students spent two weeks in Cerro Verde, working closely with inhabitants to prototype “co-created” products at a break-neck speed. Since returning, nearly half of the students have won International Design Excellence Awards, and a student-made documentary about the trip called Hands in the Mist has been shortlisted for a Young Directors Award at Cannes. Cabunoc and You’s design—a manually powered washer and dryer that costs less than $40 called GiraDora—has drawn special attention.
Watch Hands in the Mist below and see how something like the GiraDora can make a huge difference.