Take one mug full of pulp and the sheet you get is thin and dilapidated; take one and a half and the sheet you end up making is thick at the edges and thin in the centre. Take one mug full and a tiny sliver more and you get the perfect 100 GSM sheet of hand made, recycled paper. This is something I learnt from The Kalyanmayee Paper Factory.
The paper factory is situated in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi and is part of the Airport Authority of India’s CSR policy. Their work at the factory is remarkable. They collect paper from 80 airports around India and convert it into usable stationary for the AAI. I was impressed by the NGOs commitment to sustainability it only uses harvested rainwater from its factory’s in-house catchment areas and the drained water is then re-used as a solvent for the pulp.
The factory had come with great products but they had no name or popularity. They were doing this amazing work but no one knew about it. Thats when I decided that in order to publicise the factory I should bring people in to see what they doand allow them to buy their products. However then I thought what if you invite school students during the summer holidays for an internship. Students learn about the interesting and tedious process of paper making, which makes them understand and feel for the work they do.
This is how in 2011 “The Kalyanmayee Project” came about. Our original batch consisted of 18 students that worked 5 hours for 15 days. They designed and made their own products and then sold them later on. The money generated would be donated to an NGO chosen by the students of the batch. Till date their have been two batches of the internship from which we have generated more than 11,000 rupees.
The aim of the project was to create an awareness about the work the factory was doing, however as the internship progressed further, the aim became far deeper;to instill the need for recycling and environmental sustainability within the students.The internship program had students working for not only production of products but also had the job of making a documentary and blog where the interns would talk about the work that they did.
By 2012, the internship had a big name in Delhi amongst students. So much so that I had to hold interviews to screen the students and choose a select few. Being a student myself I somewhat enjoyed the authority I held. The 2012 batch were a bit more enthusiastic. Their enthusiasm led to incorporating full schools into the Kalyanmayee program. The Shri Ram School started collecting waste paper from staff rooms and administration offices and sent it to the factory in return for printer friendly paper for their internal use.
The students that came here had their own agenda. Some came to cut their holidays, some to make new friends and some even came to beef up their resume for colleges to look at. However I am happy to know that at least a some of them were inspired. These inspired students are now heading the 2013 internship, which will commence this june.