Noomi – Creating light within refugee camps


Suzanne Ros, Derisa Chiu, Emilie Langlois and Roxana Macovei are 3rd year Industrial Design Engineering students at The Hague University with the vision to create light for children in refugee camps. These young and bright minds have developed an egg-shaped product, Noomi,  which stores energy through movement. It enables children to kick and throw the Noomi around and afterwards it can be switched on to function as a light source.

Help them get funded by voting for them through the following link. This competition is held by the municipality of The Hague and has closed.

We had the chance to interview one of the founders of Noomi, Suzanne Ros, read more about Noomi below.

Why did you choose to name your creation as Noomi and how would you describe it to a layman?

Noomi started as a university design project with the topic of bringing renewable energy into refugee camps, which don’t have access to constant electricity. And so, people use kerosene lamps and candles for light which in turn bring risks such as respiratory diseases and fire hazards.

Our answer to these problems is Noomi –  a toy that generates energy through play (thus being user powered), which is stored inside in a battery which can later be used as a light. This serves as an entertainment to children and also as a source of light.

The name for Noomi came through the idea of the moon.  No matter where you are in the world, the moon is always constant and shines.  Because we are designing for another world, we flipped moon, so, ‘noom’. And then the ‘I’ symbolises the individual user; the focus. And so, Noomi!

Why an unconventional design of the toy?

The process of Noomi to come to its design and shape is the result of integrating the feedback from user tests and design.  Because Noomi is designed to be more than just a toy, there are features such as the geometric surface for improved grip.  The abstract shape came from a test that we found our target group (age 6-9) like to be challenged, the abstract shape of Noomi brings a challenge in uncertainty in what direction it will bounce.  Some may say that Noomi resembled some sort of dinosaur egg or a pomegranate seed form; this can be seen as a symbol for good hope, new life.

How do you think this will help in the longer run and how do you see yourself take this forward?

Noomi is a simple concept that has the potential to create a big impact.  In the long run, we feel that Noomi can bring psychological benefits for the children, and provide an activity that also has reward.  Eventually, the hope is that Noomi can grow and develop. We want to continue with social design and bring products or services that make a difference in the lives of people and/or the environment.

Tell us a little about your team and how easy or difficult was it to translate thought into action, especially in the Netherlands.

The Noomi team started with the four of us; Suzanne, Roxana, Derisa and Emilie, all coming from all over the world (Netherlands, Romania, Taiwan and Mauritius).

The great thing about The Hague is the international aspect.  English is spoken almost everywhere.  Studying in English and having one Dutch member in the group meant that in all communication areas, there were no issues.

Noomi is currently in a competition organised by the Hague government called the Hague innovators 2017.  Here, Noomi is competing against two other student projects with a prize of €10,000.  On top of this, there is a public prize award for one of the nine teams which has the most votes on the page.  For all readers to come together and support Noomi by voting, liking them on Facebook and even sharing Noomi.  The more people that know about Noomi and support the project is a big step towards success.

If there is anyone who wants to support Noomi further regarding business inquiries or advice/comments, you can contact them through their Facebook page or email.

All details were correct at time of going to press. No responsibility can be held for any omissions or errors contained herein. The companies that appear in this article were interviewed or featured by our editor Vatsalya Balasubramaniam. They & their adverts appear in this article for free. All images are supplied by Noomi. Our full disclaimer can be found here.

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