The Telegraph
Friday , February 21 , 2014
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Crafting plastic-free city, special style

- Jeevika students learn to make paper bags, envelopes & napkins

It is their special way of saying no to plastic.

Four students of Jeevika, a Sonari-based NGO working for the mentally challenged, are making eco-friendly paper items a green alternative to polythene bags.

Jeevika secretary Sukhdeep Kaur said their boys are making paper items like bags, envelopes and napkins at the NGO’s Sonari office every morning. “They spend three to four hours daily for the training,” he added.

Though the NGO has 18 students, only Pankaj Kumar, Sunil Gope, Raju Jeevan and Krishna Kumar are currently undergoing training for this eco-friendly project. “We will increase the number of students later,” said Jeevika founder Awtar Singh.

However, at present, they are being given small jobs to do. “Our drawing teacher Anand Kumar Dutta does the drawings, while the students only paste stones on envelopes and attach strings to the paper bags,” Kaur explained.

Sunil (17) loves his work.

While he enjoys pasting stones, 20-year-old Pankaj finds attaching strings more interesting. “We are doing a meaningful job. Polythene bags choke drains,” Pankaj said.

Their teacher Singh, however, is more than satisfied with them. “The students are really catching up fast,” he said, adding residents loved their work.

With the wedding season on, envelopes, each priced at Rs 15, sell in good numbers. “We sell more than 20 envelopes every day,” said Kaur.

Businessman Sunil Shah has developed an affinity for these special products. “I purchased 30 envelopes made by Jeevika students. They are doing a wonderful job,” he added.

Jeevika is planning to send students on a door-to-door drive in Sonari to propagate the evils of plastic and offer their handmade products as a viable option.