Project Swabhimaan, built on the twin pillars of ‘self-reliance’ and ‘self respect (Swabhimaan)’ is the flagship initiative of Raindrops Foundation. It launched in 2017 as a social entrepreneurial project to provide skill training and employment opportunities to marginalised sections of the society. Currently operating in Delhi and Kanpur, the project has trained over 30 women and visually challenged craftspersons.
Our eco-friendly range of products include earrings made out of plastic (PET) bottles, upcycled bags made out of scrap cloth, and handmade jewellery and stationary.
The project focuses on the multi-dimensional challenges of waste reduction and woman empowerment through employment generation. Plastic bottles are choking our seas. On average, each person produces about 4.3 pounds of garbage each day.
It’s difficult for people to completely change their lifestyle, but through Project Swabhimaan we try to encourage them to cut down on waste production, as well as the usage of plastic. By collecting plastic straws, pet bottles, polythene bags, cloth scraps, and unwanted clothes that would end up in dumps, we are using them to generate income and provide skill training to women from Uriyara village near Kanpur, who were trained to make jewellery from discarded plastic bottles and polythene bags. This was done keeping in mind the overwhelming plastic disposal that piles up in dumps in our cities. Kanpur and Delhi being two of the most polluted cities of the world were in dire need of such initiatives.
The women are taught plarning (yarning from plastic polythene), stitching, and jewellery making at our centre in Uriyara Village, which was chosen after a survey near Kanpur. The finished products – jholas, earrings, bracelets, mats, and coasters- are not only appreciated for their aesthetics, but also inspire the buyers towards a more sustainable way of living.
Apart from collecting donated bottles and clothes, our team in Kanpur has created a network to collect plastic straws and bottles from cafes, and waste cloth scraps from tailors, which ensures a regular supply to our production centre. This helps us in creating a model in which everyone feels proud to do their bit in saving the environment. Our project has not only impacted the producers, but also our customers. It has helped in changing the attitude of people for plastic waste reduction, encouraging them to reduce one-time use plastic items.
People of Uriyara have also been inspired towards sustainable development, as our local coordinators have observed a significant reduction in dumping of plastic bottles and tattered clothes, all of which are now donated at the production center.