Slum Girls Stitch An Eco-Friendly Alternative To Plastic In Bhubaneswar


Bhubaneswar: With Odisha all set to ban single-use plastic from October 2, around 40 girls from a slum here have started a venture to market sustainable and eco-friendly cloth bags, fondly named ‘Bag to Square One’.

These environmentally-sensitive girls had undergone a tailoring course by Cheysta, a social initiative for school dropouts, and then started their venture of making bags by re-cycling used cloths collected from different sources.

They also referred to online resources for design ideas and gradually came up with products that were aesthetically appealing to the taste of urban users.

“At Bag to Square One, the girls believe that sustainability starts at home and that everyone should stand up for the environment. Our aim is to reach out to as many individuals and homes as possible and ensure that everyone has a Bag to Square One bag so that we do not carry home more plastic from the market,” said Vidyadhar, project coordinator.

Urvashi works as a maid in houses around Shikharchandi Nagar. She dropped out of school when in Class VII to take care of her siblings left behind by her parents, who had to go out for work. She loves to sing, dance and braid her jet black hair.

She was one of the 40 girls who took up the free training organised under the Cheysta Resource Centre where they learnt how to make eco-friendly cotton bags.

It is here that they learnt about how plastic is invading every part of our lives and landfills.

“I was shocked to know that it takes up to 1000 years for a plastic bag to degrade as compared to cotton that takes only 5 months. As a result, plastic harms the earth, animals and plants living on it and the environment,” Urvashi said.

By stitching a single bag each girls earns Rs 10 to Rs 20, which adds to her income. They manage to stitch 8 to 10 bags during their free time every day.


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