Sarah – GOAL NextGen

“Before moving to Ireland, I worked as a Social Impact Designer in India. My work entailed taking a 360-degree view of global health challenges, considering the sociocultural, psychological, political, and environmental factors surrounding them, and then designing the simplest and most cost-effective solution. I probably lost some people here! Let me explain it with an example. As a 23-year-old naive designer, I started my journey in a small, remote village in India, known as the global epicenter of newborn deaths, especially among low-birth-weight infants. The situation encompassed many aspects I mentioned before. Many of these mothers were married and became pregnant very young, and often had iron deficiency, which increases the likelihood of complications during and after pregnancy, and also leads to premature births. In traditional homes, mothers are often expected to bounce back to their everyday chores after giving birth, and most of the time, they are simply not strong enough, not to mention having to properly look after their children. Their attention gets split between domestic responsibilities and the newborn, because of which the baby unknowingly suffers. One of the most effective and  commonly used medical interventions is skin-to-skin contact between a mother and new born. Our solution was based on this: to keep babies close to their mothers without having to stop their domestic work. I ended up designing a culturally appropriate baby carrier, a sling that respects traditional clothing design—a simple solution that made all the difference. I named it Sangam, which means ‘sacred union’ in Hindi. This project wasn’t just about product design but about active listening in the field, learning from mothers and families, and advocating for simple solutions co-designed with the recipients. This project provided me with an immense sense of purpose and accomplishment and was the turning point in my career. Similar projects over the years have made me even more enthusiastic about the field, enabling me to specialize in Global Health with recent academic training from Trinity College to build even more impactful, human-centric solutions.”