The Youth Committee of YWCA Thiruvananthapuram joined hands with Paperman to organise a paper recycling drive
A small gesture can change a life. Perhaps many. Members of Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) were making a very strong point by collecting newspapers that would otherwise pile up and eventually be thrown away by approaching Paperman, the Chennai-based NGO.
The Thiruvananthapuram-chapter of this NGO was started a year back to collect newspapers, sell them to recycling units and make sure the money was put to good use. The Youth Committee of YWCA Thiruvananthapuram joined hands with Paperman to organise a recycle drive from August 1 to 14, the last day coinciding with International Youth Day. The Committee was looking to initiate awareness on recycling as part of a green campaign stated by YWCA at their quadrennial meet.
Arvind Karthikeyan and Gopikrishnan Nair, volunteers with Paperman, were in for a surprise when the hostellers of the YWCA hostel said that they had close to 400 kg of paper for sale. “This is the same amount that an entire school had collected for us once!,” exclaimed Gopikrishnan. The youngsters then interacted with the members, drawing out ideas about how they’d like to utilise the money the sale would bring. It was finally decided that the funds would be used to buy learning aids for the inmates of State Institute of Mentally Challenged in the city. Many hostellers were interested in signing up as volunteers. Arvind explained, “Fill up a form on our Facebook page. We are going paperless, hence the online form.”
The Paperman story
The NGO started by Mathew Jose in Chennai has grown to include over 100 schools in the project. “There are no recycling units in Thiruvananthapuram city. A paper recycling unit, based in Tamil Nadu, has a requirement of 100 tonnes a day. Believe it or not, they actually import paper from Dubai to recycle,” says Gopikrishnan. India recycles just 20 per scent paper. The rest goes out as trash. Paperman is working with paper/scrap collectors to bring them into the unit.
The organisation is planning many more initiatives like apartment drives, a Technopark green campus drive and another with Kudumbashree. Paperman is already popular among many schools in the city. “We will plan out more ways for YWCA to work with Paperman,” said Sonia, YWCA Youth Chairperson, Thiruvananthapuram. Paperman’s initiative in Chennai has been helping send 63 girls to school through an NGO called Nanhi Kali.