Group of women earn income while managing waste in Wangphu Gewog, Samdrup Jongkhar

A group of women at Wangphu Gewog in Samdrup Jongkhar keeps their community clean and green by promoting waste management through their innovative zero-waste craft initiative. The group has successfully turned trash into treasure by creating beautiful handcrafts from waste materials that would otherwise end up lying in open spaces. 

The women have been trained in various crafting techniques and have honed their skills to create a wide range of products like baskets and bags by using materials such as plastic, pet bottles, and sacks.

They were trained by the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative some five months ago. The group has not only helped reduce waste in their locality but has also managed to earn some income by selling their products.

Currently, five women are actively engaged in making zero-waste craft and each of them has earned about 3000 to 5000 ngultrum from selling the products.

“It is better to make waste crafts as we can sell the products and earn. I have earned about 4500 from selling the zero-waste crafts so far. It is like a side hustle for us and at the same time, we can manage waste in our society,” said Ugyen Chezom from Wangphu Gewog.

“It has helped me a lot. With the skills I have acquired, I can now sell zero-waste crafts to make my own pocket money, without having to depend much on others,” said Chimi Lhaden who is also from Wangphu Gewog.

Tshering Lhaden from Wangphu Gewog said “The income from the sale of crafts adds to our financial security. We can also gift the items to our friends and families. Till now I have not earned much but it is benefitting me as I can make the products as and when people demand them.”

Besides turning waste into crafts, the group also conducts monthly cleaning campaigns in the community.

“Apart from earning, we are managing waste in the community. Regarding myself, I don’t throw waste anymore, I reuse it by making baskets and bags,” added Chimi Lhaden.

Tshering Lhaden also said “Our initiative has helped in managing waste. Villagers out here are also benefited.”

Currently, their products are sold within their chiwog. The Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative also helps them in selling them.

Kinley Wangchuk, Samdrup Jongkhar

Edited by Kipchu 

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