Waste Paper Into Wonderful Jewelry

Jan 01, 2012 | Vol 4, Issue 1
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Pioneer Paper bags was set up in 2003 as Kudumbasree Mission (a mission that envisages empowering ladies, creating self -help groups with the support of the Govt. of Kerala) by 13 ladies from nearby localities. After working at different locations, the unit has now got a space at the recently opened Kovalam Craft village. The unit is now manufacturing different types of paper products ranging from paper jewellery to bags, window curtains to baskets, files, pens etc.

For an ordinary person the paper products unit, the only unit that functions at the newly opened Kovalam Craft village, at Vellar near Kovalam is merely a commercial enterprise. But, it is an initiative by women to provide paper and other environment friendly packaging options. And also, to spread a strong message to the society on how effectively we can overcome the excess use of plastic.

Pioneer Paper bags was set up in 2003 as Kudumbasree Mission (a mission that envisages empowering ladies, creating self -help groups with the support of the Govt. of Kerala) by 13 ladies from nearby localities. After working at different locations, the unit has now got a space at the recently opened Kovalam Craft village. The unit is now manufacturing different types of paper products ranging from paper jewellery to bags , window curtains to baskets, files, pens etc. Ramani, one of the founder members of the unit explained about the formation of the unit. She said that ,the idea of establishing this unit, was initiated after the training given by Thanal (Thanal is a public interest research, advocacy and campaign organization, working on nature conservation and environmental health and justice, www.thanal.co.in) in 2002. Among the 100 ladies who attended the training, 13 ladies formed a group, invested a small amount and started this unit in one of the founder member's home at Kovalam. With the idea given by Thanal, these ladies could develop a variety of products, using handmade paper, old news paper and magazines.

Even though they are struggling a little, to get a comfortable market position, their continued effort has begun to show results. Now, carry bags of different capacity, made out of old news papers have regular bulk buyers (They sell a 2kg capacity paper carry bag for  Rs.3.5/-). Files made of hand-made paper, paper pens are an essential item for conferences and seminars.

The wastage of quality paper from products like files and bags are again utilised for making designer ornaments, window curtains and fancy baskets which is another area of expertise and creativity. Even the glossy old magazines and business promotional brochures of various companies are transformed into stylish paper beads.  These are then used for making ear rings, necklaces, bracelets etc. The paper baskets of various types, whose cost ranges from Rs.10- to Rs.200/- and the paper ornaments from rs.50/- to rs.500/- for a full set are now crafted here.

Mainly Thanal and Zero Waste Centre, a resource education centre at Kovalam are supporting the efforts of the Pioneer Paper Bag unit. They send foreign tourists to visit the unit and liaison with some premier hotels in Kovalam to buy their products and there boost their income. With the help of the Zero Waste Centre, Pioneer Paper Bag unit now exhibits their crafts at The Leela Hotel, Kovalam every Friday.

Now, the group consists of five ladies, including Leena Jayan, who acts as the Secretary. The other founder members left the organization at different points of time as they got married. The ladies of Pioneer Paper Bag Unit, are now proud and confident to say, that their efforts have minimized the usage of plastic carry bags in this locality and have provided supplementary income to their families.

Timing: 10am- 5.30pm, Sunday holiday

Location/access:  Kovalam Crafts Village, walk able distance from Vellar Jn bus stop, which is on the way to Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram dist.

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is this still working; if so can i have the contact number?

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