The seven finalists in the 2010 Designing for Education challenge — a competition for student designers to dream up solutions to problems facing children in the developing world — are pretty damn clever. They address everything from hygiene (an abacus made of soap) to education for the blind (a Braille-imprinted mat) to girls’ health (a maxi pad made of papyrus).
The Danish nonprofit Index named the finalists recently, in partnership with UNICEF. Now in its second year, the competition is aimed at getting students to think about design as a force of social good. “The INDEX Design Challenge tries to bring to light real challenges that our world faces,” says Liza Chong, who oversees the contest, in an email, “and to engage design students in not only designing a market-based solution but to also build capacity and confidence so that solutions can be realized in time.” And while the designs are obviously meant for the classrooms of the developing world, some are even stylish enough to look right at home in the gilded halls of Horace Mann. We’ve got a slideshow here. Enjoy.