By Eshawari Sant and Paulomi Das:
According to the Pioneer, Delhi generates approximately 9500 tons of waste every day, making the national capital stink of garbage. From the generation of poisonous and toxic gases like methane due to incineration to pollution of water and air, the environmental impacts of this mismanagement of waste are dawning upon us at a tremendous rate.
A group of students committed to bringing about change through entrepreneurial action, working at the Enactus at Indraprastha College for Women, conducted an online and offline research spread over a month and with a sample size of 15 localities in Delhi including areas like Pitampura, Janakpuri and Dwarka among many others, and found an increasing distress among the residents over the menace of improper management of waste.
This inspired them to work on their current venture – Project Nafasat which was officially introduced in 2017. The project aims to properly manage the waste which tackles the problem of disposal of textile and paper waste on a small scale. The primary idea behind Project Nafasat was to convert reusable waste into utility products which would have otherwise been disposed off in landfills.
Enactus IPCW has started with two products – refillable journals made from textile waste and paper pens by reusing discarded paper.
The main stakeholders in this project is a community of young adults with Intellectual Development Disorder and learning disabilities who handcraft the product themselves. Enactus IPCW works with them in collaboration with an NGO called Udaan in Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi.
Besides building business models, Enactus IPCW is also engaged in conducting several workshops and training sessions for their community. These workshops are related to soft skills development such as public speaking, confidence building and basic financial literacy. These sessions are conducted periodically in order to ensure comprehensive development in addition to their skill enhancement.
The team has witnessed an entrepreneurial transformation in its community in terms of their ability to maintain their work efficiency even in case of mass production, their social interaction and their agility in terms of making products. The members of the team, as well as the community, have mutually benefited from this project in terms of their interpersonal behaviour, work ethics and development of social entrepreneurial skills.
The efforts of Enactus IPCW have enabled the beneficiaries to become independent and confident. According to the teachers at Udaan, Manish, a 17-year-old boy diagnosed with mental retardation, “puts his heart and soul into making the pens and diaries. Through this project, his confidence has soared. He wishes to be a meticulous businessman.”
Project Nafasat has not only helped the main stakeholders, that is the beneficiaries, but also enabled the members to think positively and bring about change. “Working on Project Nafasat has been a rewarding experience, which has personally helped me to break open stereotyped mindsets and view each individual’s worth. I wish it reaches greater heights as we continue to work for it,” says Aahana Srishti, a member of Enactus IPCW.
Speaking further on the aspect of waste management, Paulomi Das adds, “The entire concept behind Nafasat was to sensitize the masses about the improper disposal of wastes which gradually incorporated in my day to day life. Constant discussions and sharing of multiple ideas gave me an insight on how to deal with grave problems while at the same time, giving me a sense of community engagement.”
Enactus IPCW envisions to minimize the mismanagement of waste and at the same time, make a significant impact on the lives of our community members both socially and financially. The vision behind this initiative is to channelize the skills of the community into their day to day life and ultimately, help them evolve into financially independent entrepreneurs.