Western industrial design graduate changing lives
Bachelor of Industrial Design Graduate Amy Balam is determined to use her skills and knowledge to help those less fortunate. After visiting Papua New Guinea and witnessing the difficult conditions facing mothers, she came up with an innovative product to help families care for their babies.
"Seeing mothers and their children inspired me to create my final year project Safe Dreams, a backpack with a variety of uses for new mothers," she says.
"Not only does it hold baby products, it turns inside out and transforms into a cradle with a mosquito net. Best of all, it's designed to be made from local, natural products, so it can be replicated very easily."
As a young woman in an industry traditionally dominated by men, Amy is passionate about designing innovative new products for other women.
"I really like creating new products I would use myself," she says.
"For example, in third year when I was designing furniture, I made sure my pieces were light and easy to assemble, something that can be overlooked by others."
After impressing her teachers with her innovative creations, Amy was introduced to the WISE Program (Women in Science and Engineering), tailored to women studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics at Western Sydney University.
The program includes face-to-face courses, career workshops and invitations to key events. It was through WISE that Amy pursued humanitarian work in South America.
"After meeting industry figures at an event with the Asian Development Bank through WISE, I was inspired to make a difference in other parts of the world," she says.
"Over the summer I'll be heading to Peru in South America with an aid organisation to work with local women to help design furniture for their shopfront."
Amy hopes it's the first of many projects where she can use what she's learned at Western Sydney University to help other women around the world.
"Design truly can change lives, and hopefully I can too," she says.
3 December 2015
This article discusses colonial violence against First Nations peoples. There is reference to people who are now deceased.
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