Trainings in up cycling newspaper waste conducted by WellPaper 
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The Beauty of Recycling campaign being led by eCoexist since 2010 looks at the aesthetic and financial potential of upcycling waste. Over our five annual festivals we have brought together various players in the upcycling fields – designers, artists, women’s groups and NGOs – to demonstrate and educate people about upcycling.

This year the festival is focussed entirely on training programmes for underprivileged groups.

Watch a video of how WellPaper was born...

About WELL Paper, Auroville
(Women Empowerment through Local Livelihood)

The Wellpaper group in Auroville was created as a response to the tsunami that hit the villages in Tamil Nadu in 2004.  Orly and Danny Mergui, who had just arrived in Auroville a few months prior to the Tsunami combined their papier mache and corporate skills to set up a rehabilitation programme to help the tsunami affected women to earn.

Over the past 12 years Wellpaper has helped these women to make simple up-cycled products with newspaper waste and create a solid business and income source, meeting the primary goal of WELL - to empower local village women with skills to build, manage and maintain self-sustaining units. They are now training groups in other cities to do the same. Five women from the villages of Alankuppam and Kottakarai had come to conduct these trainings.

This series of workshops was co sponsored by Forbes, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, and Mahindra.

Session 1: Women supported by Forbes Marshall

Date : 2nd Nov 2017, Venue: Forbes, campus, Pimpri

The first session was conducted for the women’s groups that are supported by Forbes Marshall. The session lasted for four hours and many of the 33 participants were young mothers. Many of the women were already involved in production of paper bags and so this training was relevant to them as they were familiar with the material. The Forbes Marshall team would be continuing hand holding on this process with them for those women who take further interest.

Session 2: NGO partners of Sangam Girl Guides Center

Date : 3rd Nov 2017, Venue: Sangam, Alandi Road

The Sangam Girl Guides Center has a network of NGOs that it supports regularly. They hosted a workshop for these and participants came from Anjuman Islam, Doorstep School, Deep Griha, India Sponsorship Committee, Ishwari, Green Tara Foundation and Bajaj Samaj Seva Kendra. Many of these NGOs are currently making their own products and so are also involved in marketing to some degree. Addition of this new technique would help them expand the range of products they offer. The participants were expected to take back their learnings to teach others in their respective NGOs.

Discussions around costing also occurred at this training and it was evident that the participants felt confident in marketing these items.

Session 3: Drive Change Learning Resource Center (DLRC)

Date : 4th Nov 2017, Venue: Sus Road

DLRC is an alternative education center that believes in Learning by Doing. The workshop held here was open to the public and included students of DLRC, children, young adults and expatriates. The training was extremely well received and we were invited to come and conduct more such trainings. At this session the artistic potential of upcycling was appreciated and discussed and innovative ideas to further refine the products were shared. DLRC promotes the idea of sustainable living and our training fit very well into this approach.

Session 4 : Surajya Sarvangin Vikas Prakalp (SSVP)

Date : 5th Nov 2017, Venue: Shevalewadi workshop center

SSVP is an NGO that works in around 30 slum areas in Pune. This workshop was held for the self help group of the wives of the people working at the Shevalewadi workshop. The women here were very motivated and have requested help to take their training further and convert the product into an income source for them. Each of them seemed to be involved in some kind of handicraft and picked up the skill really fast.

Session 5 : Maher Ashram

Date : 6th Nov 2017, Venue: Vatsalyadham, Wagholi

Vatsalyadham at Wagholi is a center for homeless orphan and mentally challenged people set up by the Maher ashram. The training held here was to help them refine their skills in basket weaving as they were already trying to do this on their own earlier. Since some of the participants have mental challenges the trainers had to find ways of simplifying the techniques to help them learn. Maher has a regular marketing network through stalls and exhibitions so this would be an addition to their range of activities and products.


Nine women from the eCoexist self help group based in Ahwalwadi  also joined the training.

Session 6 : Teach for India , Parents of students

Date : 6th Nov 2017, Venue: Matoshri English Medium School.

Teach for India fellows conduct trainings for the mothers of the students they teach to help give them skills for income generation. The schools that were represented here are government schools and so these participants were from a lower income group. They were very keen on earning a supplementary income and participated enthusiastically. Some of the women have a background in tailoring and other handicraft also.

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