The way i looked at design changed when i went to see the 'Design for the Other 90%' exhibition at the cooper Hewitt about 2 years ago.
A project that connects well to come of the ideas i have right now is the Kinkajou Projector.
My current interests are in teaching tools especially dealing with learning how to read and write, and this specific one transforms "night-time learning environments in rural, non-electrified areas"
lightweight, low-power projection system, which uses a microfilm cassette to store 10,000 pages of information at a fraction of the cost of paper books It is targeted at adults in rural west africa where 75% of the adult population is illiterate.
"Literacy contributes decisively to improving a community’s quality of life through improved health and child nutrition. Kinkajou projectors have helped more than 3,000 adults in forty-five rural villages in Mali learn to read."
there is more information on the 'design that matters' website http://www.designthatmatters.org/
According to Barbara Garner of World Education, “It’s the lack of resources”—specifically access to books and lighting—rather than a lack of interest in education that contributes to illiteracy rates.