Sustainable Development in Northern India
The ReStore reopened for the first time since before Christmas on the first weekend of February. The ReStore is the establishment in which women in Chenney community who participate in the Women’s Handicraft Activity (WHA) knit, make jewellery, and tailor clothing sell their products. The women’s ages range from 16 to about 50; the older women generally prefer to knit and tailor, while the younger ones also knit but really love making jewellery. The women had been working very hard over the holidays and nearly all of them had completed at least one item by the time I arrived. Despite the cold, everyone was quite excited for the opening of the ReStore.
My vision for the WHA and the ReStore is to develop new and sustainable products made from recycled materials and to give the women (especially the younger ones) the chance to be more creative. Presently, the products are quite similar to those sold in nearby tourist hub, McLeod Ganj, and are made completely from purchased materials. During the course of the month, I have been meeting with other project managers and working to develop such prototypes. From jewellery made of scrap fabric to coasters made of matches and rubbish bins made of plastic bread bags, the women and I have been very busy working and learning together. The younger girls are really enjoying our weekly workshops and have been glad to have an outlet for their creativity. I am hoping that giving them a say in choosing which new products we learn to make each week will garner within them a greater sense of responsibility for the ReStore.
Finally, I have started compiling a Waste Resource Recovery and Recycling Guide for the ReStore. This is a compilation of ideas and tutorials I have found. My aim is to make this manual accessible to interns for their personal use as well as for future project managers of the ReStore. I have invited other interns to share their ideas with me and hopefully this can become an important resource for all.
Michele-Anne Vennat, Canada
Restore Project Manager, Naddi