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About 40 women are involved in making baskets from plastic waste

Empowering women through recycled waste

Second training on recycled waste product making training to built capacity of women from low-income families is underway in Thimphu.

Programme officer with Tarayana Foundation, Wangmo, said the main objective of the training is to help women from low-income families generate income and to empower them.

The training focuses on making products such as bags, baskets, mats and accessories from plastic wastes.

She said most of them [women] are housewives who do not have any means to make income and have to depend on their husband.

“We felt that if they could earn some money in their own ways, they could become independent in a small way, that would be a small step towards empowering them,” said Wangmo.

Wangmo said the training was organised as waste poses a big problem. “There are many other non-governmental organisations working on it, but there is no one who is focusing on making waste products.”

The participants include parents of children with special needs from Draktsho Vocational Centre, Ability Bhutan Society, wives of the armed forces from the Lungtenphu, single parents, Tarayana club members, and a few students and teachers.

The first training was organised in January this year for two weeks. The participants sold their products at Tarayana fair held in April this year.

Wangmo said the participants made about Nu 15,000 from their waste products during the fair.

The goods were sold at Nu 150 to Nu 750.

She said Tarayana Foundation also tries to help trainees market their products through relevant agencies such as Clean Bhutan and Greener Way. “We try to link the participants to relevant agencies so that they can sustain themselves.”

Wangmo said the participants would be taught financial literacy on last day of the training. “Currently, they know how to weave but do not know about the costing products, formation of self-help group and savings.”

Tarayana members carried out a social mobilisation survey to select the participants.

Wangmo said the members went door to door and informed people about the opportunity. “If they were found interested, we registered them for the training and helped them form self-help groups so that they can work together and exchange ideas.”

One of the participants, Dechen Choden, said: “After the training we went to Memelakha landfill site. That made us realise that if we can make use of waste, we could really reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill.”

Wangmo said the participants need patience while making the products, which includes collecting waste, washing and drying them, cutting and then folding the strips, and joining and weaving it. “It consumes a lot of time to prepare the raw materials. It is difficult encouraging them.”

Karma Cheki

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