Mr Sawhney with a hand-cranked washing machine on a beach

Image caption,

Mr Sawhney is a University of Bath graduate

An engineer who created a hand-cranked washing machine for people in poorer regions of the world has received an award from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Navjot Sawhney devised the machines after living in India and seeing a neighbour struggling to do the washing.

Mr Sunak has awarded Mr Sawhney a Points of Light Award, which recognises volunteers, charity leaders or community champions.

The University of Bath graduate said he was “shocked” to win.

“It’s absolutely phenomenal. It’s testament to all the hard work the volunteers are doing at the moment,” he said.

Mr Sawhney is the 1,975th winner of the Points of Light Award and the daily winner for Thursday 26 January.

He has been told he will receive a letter from the Prime Minister and a certificate in recognition of the work done by the Washing Machine Project.

Image caption,

Tenna lives in the Pacific island of Kiribati and has recently been given a machine.

The machines are designed to be much easier to use than washing clothes by hand, as well as being quicker and saving time.

Mr Sawhney estimates around 300 machines have been given out at places including refugee camps, schools and orphanages.

The machines have been distributed to countries including Iraq, Lebanon and Uganda.

Last year, 10 machines were given to a humanitarian aid centre that houses Ukrainian refugees.

Image caption,

Daniella has been using the machines in Texas

Although the machines were designed for people living in developing countries, they have become increasingly in demand in the UK and USA, with people struggling with the Cost of Living crisis and soaring energy bills.

The machines are cranked by hand and do not use any electricity.

This month, the team have been washing clothes for homeless people living in Fort Worth, Texas.

Daniella is homeless and lives on the notorious East Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth which is known for its high crime rate.

She has only washed her clothes twice in the past three years, since losing her home.

The team said it is continuing to perfect the design of the machines and aims to distribute thousands more in Africa, Asia and South America this year.

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