India: Barodian on a green mission, generates jobs for poor youth

VADODARA: He’s on a mission to kill two birds with one stone global warming and unemployment among poor youths. For this, city-based Rushabh Gandhi, 21, started Handmade Hope’, wherein underprivileged youths make paper bags, referred to as ecothene’ sold to provisional as well as medical stores and vegetable vendors to counter the usage of plastic bags.

In the first phase of the initiative, these youths will also be making other products which include greeting cards, decorative bags, designer pots, wall hangings and scribble pads using waste papers and materials.

“I wanted to create a platform that can help do away with use of plastic bags and at the same time help underprivileged youths from slums, streets and foster homes to earn a living using their creative abilities. I thought of using newspapers to make carry bags which can be sold to generate income,” said Gandhi, who also heads the Yuva Unstoppable initiative in the city.

“More than one million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide, most of which will be sent to landfill after single use. This project is about breaking the disposable habit by promoting reusable or recyclable alternatives. It will, at least, help in reducing plastic waste and encourage people to use eco-friendly products,” added Gandhi.

Through the initiative Gandhi has managed to sell over 8,000 ecothene’ bags at the same rate as that of plastic bags. These eco-friendly bags will also carry stickers on various social issues which include child labour, AIDS as well as environmental causes.

Gandhi says that once the youths aged 17 and above are trained, they can use the skills and start working on their own. “Due to lack of awareness, many a times youths residing in slums and on the street end up doing menial jobs at an early age to facilitate family income. Through this initiative, they will be groomed to be self-employed. They can also work in the workshops and train other youths to continue the chain,” he said.

The focus of the initiative is to provide vocational and educational courses that will enhance their knowledge base and develop skills sets which can used to earn a living. In the second phase, youths will be trained to acquire computer skills which will help them gain jobs as data entry operators, graphic designers and translators.

From TOI

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