In Assam, a female entrepreneur turns trash into treasure. Around the world, countries, and people are confronted with a rising tide of plastic waste that comes with disastrous environmental consequences. But in India’s northeastern state of Assam, there is an entrepreneur who has developed a practical and simple idea. An idea reduces the burden on the environment while also giving poor women a chance to earn a living.
Rupjyoti Saikia Gogoi, 47, lives in the area of Kaziranga National Park, a magnet for tourists from all over the globe due to the world’s biggest population of one-horned rhinoceros and several thousand elephants, tigers, panthers, bears, and several types of unusual birds.
UNESCO World Heritage List added the country’s first national park in 1985.
Village Weaves is made up of a group of women from the community who gets together To work. Work to collect plastic bottles bagged chips and bottled water that have been left behind by tourists. They then hand-dry and machine-wash the bottles, chips, and water bottles to collect the cash generated by the washed-up trash.
The firm was started in 2004, and thus far it has empowered over 2,300 women across 35 villages in Assam, while also contributing to the drop in plastic pollution surrounding the national park.
Gogoi claims that the most visited national park in India is Kaziranga. And there are millions of people that come to this location every year, which makes the place seem terrible.
In Assam, a female entrepreneur turns trash into treasure.
Although the municipality has placed a prohibition on littering, plastic bags are seen all over the place. They are not only a nuisance but also harmful to animals that get entangled in them.
Gogoi’s husband Binod works for a local wildlife conservation non-profit and is on the same page as her when it comes to the issue of plastic trash pollution and animals.
According to the pair, they did a good job. And by discussing the situation they came up with a solution that had three key components. 1)To deal with the garbage, 2)recycle it in an environmentally sustainable way, and 3)empower local women.
Gogoi explains that she spent months trying to find a viable use for the garbage until she finally discovered an ideal method.
It took some time to try out several items from various materials such as plastic before settling on a design. However, it didn’t work. After that, I explored different sorts of materials. She adds, “When that, it was only after I combined plastic fibers with cotton threads that I was able to develop a long-lasting and flexible fabric that was perfect for making crafts.”
Gogoi states that she relied on skills passed down to her by her mother when she created her project.
A female entrepreneur turns trash into treasure, in Assam.
Thousands of women have been positively impacted by Gogoi’s company, over the previous two decades. And it’s not only the women who are suffering because of this.
Joining up with families to collect garbage, toweling, and hand-weaving weave items is beneficial to the members of those households, allowing them to make decent money. Also, for instance, at my house, my husband, in-laws, brother, and mother all assist me with a wide range of tasks, including but not limited to weaving, market management, and other administrative tasks. While she’s traveling for seminars, she has someone else come in and take care of her house.
Since he was called by state governments and private organizations to educate rural women on how to convert rubbish into treasure, Gogoi is now being called to host seminars in other parts of the country.
There have been several occasions when I have gone across several Indian states including Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Delhi, on request. She exclaims: It’s a really remarkable feeling to be a teacher.
However, there are other difficulties.
The epidemic has put all travel on pause while it is reducing visitor arrivals to Kaziranga. A resulting in a significant reduction in sales for the collective.
According to Gogoi, she depends on her little café Roop’s Kitchen (which she operates as a side venture “to make ends meet in times of financial difficulty”) to sustain her while she gets her education.
This vegetarian, nine-seat restaurant provides an Assamese thali, which consists of four Assamese specialties, and priced at $3.
While Gogoi does have many other issues to deal with, many artists are also struggling with other difficulties.
In Assam, a female entrepreneur turns trash into treasure.
By means of older and malfunctioning looms, our products’ quality and manufacturing have been significantly impeded. We are looking for improved technologies and newer looms in order to address these issues. As a result, she claims, foreign visitors show much appreciation for our items, and so, there is good potential for increasing sales and earnings.
Even though I have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we have not received a response from his office. Although there are several national and state government programs available for craftspeople like us, we have never been able to benefit from them in our inconspicuous communities.
The entrepreneur believes that after the virus situation is normal. Again the ladies of the collective will be able to go back to work and life as usual.
Many women have benefited from Gogoi’s initiative, and Debyani Sarkar is one of them. She started plastic weaving training in 2015 and is now earning a monthly income of 500 USD.
I have three small children, therefore I engage in some voluntary work during my leisure time, like recycling and weaving. In order to make up to $150 a month, she said to Al Jazeera, “It has helped me.”
My money provides for me to be able to provide the best food and schooling for my children. I’m hoping to do the same once the coronavirus is gone.