A residents’ group is helping local women in Whitefield kill two birds with one stone. It is assisting the local community earn money by making paper bags. This way, the women also help the city in minimising the usage of plastic carry bags, something Bengaluru is striving hard to do. Women working on the project have been earning up to Rs 4,000 a month.
Through special drives, volunteers of The Federation of Resident Welfare Associations, Communities and Establishments in Greater Whitefield (FORCE-GW) collect newspapers from residents of the area, and pass them on to interested women of nearby villages. The women are also taught the skill of manufacturing paper bags. The paper bags are then supplied to leading supermarkets and restaurants where customers have an option to bag their groceries and takeaways in paper bags, thereby reducing the usage of plastic bag drastically.
Speaking about their environment-friendly initiative to Bangalore Mirror, president of FORCE-GW Lingraj Urs said, “Over the last 50 days or so, women from the neighbouring places Kannamangala and Bevinamara Colony are being empowered by our programme. About 30 volunteers help us collect newspapers from the neighbourhood. We give these newspapers to the women in villages, who make bags out of them. Currently, the paper bags are being made in the Samudaya Bhavan of Kannamangala village. We shall soon start another unit in Seegehalli.”
One of the volunteers who helps with the collection of newspapers, Amrita Unnikrishnan, says the job gives her a lot of satisfaction. “Our team took up the initiative because it empowers women and also creates awareness among people to stop the use of plastic. The plan was mooted by Priyadarshini, who is also instrumental in the paper bags reaching supermarkets and other stores in our neighbourhood. Over 15 members of our team are actively involved in this work. We have been conducting drives over the last 15 days, during which we collected newspapers for this cause,” she said.
Having realised that they have struck on a novel idea that is a win-win situation for all, the team plans to spread their area of operations. “Our team is planning to reach out to more communities with the initiate, which would go a long way in ridding the city of littered carry bags,” added Amritha.
The person behind the idea that has provided poor women a means of livelihood, Priyadarshini R, claims over 40 women have been earning Rs 4,000 a month by making these paper bags. “In the last 15 days, the workers have made 10,000 paper bags, and sold them at Rs 45 for 100 of a smaller size and Rs 65 for the bigger ones,” Priyadarshini said.
Kumari M used to earn a little bit by stitching saree falls. She now is happy to be adding substantially to her family income. “It is difficult to bear the daily expenses in today’s world without multitasking. Earlier, I used to help one of my relatives in stitching saree falls and earn a little bit. From the last few days I have been given a great opportunity of making paper bags, and this is giving me more money,” she said, going on to add, “We would like to thank the whole team who gave us this chance to not only make money for ourselves but also help society in reducing the use of plastic.”
Credit Bangalore Mirror