HaYoung Lee a student at Hongik University, Soul Korea had no idea how an encounter roughly two years ago with a rouge cow in the bustling streets of India would inspire and alter his life pursuit. HaYoung’s epithony? Ultimately, the birth of a dream to become a product designer and a passion for what’s known as Design for Social Impact (DSI). His first foray into DSI is his Letter Desk. HaYoung recently posted his design on Behance as open source in hopes the design and manufacturing communities might get inspired to help him fully realise the product. It’s Lee’s vision to be able to send a batch of Letter Desks to India, with the first one going to his little friend Raju .
But what’s this about a rough cow? Well, perhaps you’ve heard about the annual Running of the Bulls event in Pamplona Spain where bulls are worked up into a frenzy then let loose in the streets! Thrill seekers the world over flock to Pamplona for a taste of exhilaration mixed with terror. The scene is chaotic as runners scurry to elude being hurled into oblivion by the raging bulls!
Now hop across the globe to most any major city in India where its commonplace for people and cattle to mill about together in the streets. No big deal right? Not if you are HaYoung Lee sporting a bright red shirt! Stirred to agitation by this flash of red, a bull started to charge! HaYoung took to flight and began weaving his way through the narrow streets. Finding it difficult to elude the massive creature, he ducked in an alleyway.
When he popped out he suddenly found himself in a world beyond tourism. A place where children played, worked and studied in the streets. HaYoung was enamoured with what he saw and it struck a cord deep within. He especially took note of the children doing their best to study however and wherever they could find a spot. Lee saw a dramatic contrast between the abundant resources available to students back home and those of the children squatting before his very eyes.
“I saw a lot of children sitting and squatting down on the dirt road and narrow stair writing something. They seemed to be studying or doing some school homework.”
HaYoung made an effort to connect with the youth then and has worked to keep in touch even after returning home. After finding his way into the industrial design program at Hongik University he made good on his promise to find a way to help improve the learning experience for India’s street children. Enter the Letter Desk project. Below is a sampling of HaYoung’s development process.
It’s exciting to see the passion and effort HaYoung has put into his Letter Desk project. Currently his project is getting a fair amount of media buzz. I’ve sought to support HaYoung’s vision through this post. Perhaps you, our creative community may be inspire to lend a hand in whatever way you can!