KOCHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi extolled a wealth from waste initiative, launched jointly by the Department of Fashion Designing and the Society of Teresians for Environmental Protection (STEP) along with other stakeholders, during his Mann Ki Baat on Sunday. “Such initiatives need to be adopted by others,” said the Prime Minister. “The students of St Teresa’s College in Ernakulam in Kerala are making dolls out of discarded used cloth and pieces of wood. These child-friendly toys are then donated to the anganwadis,” said the PM.
This not only solves the waste problem but also provides underprivileged children with quality toys, he added. This initiative developed from the already existing project of making bags and pencil pouches, said Nirmala Padmanabhan, team leader of the project and lecturer with the Department of Economics at the college. According to her, the students had begun the initiative of making cloth bags as a step towards ending the usage of plastic. “However, we found that a lot of waste pieces of cloth was being generated. Pieces that can’t be made into anything. That’s when the idea of making soft toys using these pieces developed,” said Nirmala.
According to her, as part of this, the second-year students of the Department of Fashion Designing developed the design and concept for the first part of the project. “They made toys using cloth pieces and also wood,” she added. The students named the initiative ‘Kalicheppu’ and donated the toys to an anganwadi. According to Nirmala, the STEP has also developed the design for soft toys. “We are going one step further,” she added. The college has joined hands with Kochi corporation and Kudumbashree to solve the waste cloth issue of the district. According to Nirmala, as a part of this, a shredder has been installed at the college. “This initiative will not only solve the waste problem but also give employment to women belonging to Kudumbashree units in the district,” she added.