Have your bowl and eat it too
Students at Delhi University (DU) are known to be innovators, be it in the field of academics, technology or skill development. One such group, Enactus of Kirori Mal College, is leading the way in involving communities through various entrepreneurial ventures. In their latest initiative, called Project Patradya, the students have come up with a recipe to manufacture edible bowls.
“Enactus stands for entrepreneurship in action through the empowerment of communities. We have made edible bowls that not just help with nutritional requirements, but also help reduce the dependability on plastic,” says Mansha Siraj, president of the society.
The ingredients that go into the making of these bowls are grain flours of rice, wheat and jowar, which are easily available. “These bowls are packaged within two layers, and every box has a label that clearly lists the ingredients used, so that the consumers know what they are eating,” adds Siraj.
They involved refugee women from Afghanistan in this project to empower them with sustainable livelihood. “For this project, our target was a socially excluded community and our teams were in talks with refugees, transgenders and acid-attack survivors. It just so happened that the idea clicked with the women from Afghanistan, and then began the process of training them,” informs Siraj.
Their training was a 3-tier programme that involved workshops on sanitation and hygiene, baking classes, and finally, sessions on the importance of this project. “Apart from skills training, we also teach them about the marketing and business side, and how to sell the bowls,” says Ayushi Srivastava, project head of Patradya.
The society started operations in April of this year, and their first project involved the women of Sapera Basti in Delhi’s Najafgarh area. “We were working with an NGO and looking for suitable communities, when we were told that these women were vulnerable to human trafficking and prostitution. These women were adept in tie and dye, stitching and embroidery. We held workshops for them and trained them with business skills. Now, they are self-reliant and have put up stalls at places like India International Centre, Nature Bazaar and Dilli Haat,” says Siraj.
Other sustainable development projects at Delhi University:
1.Solar water heaters at Lady Irwin College
2.Earthen pots for storing water at Kalindi College
3.Solar panel at Dyal Singh College
4.Use of bicycles in and around Ramjas College