At Delhi University, a group of eco-conscious students has found a way to turn paper waste into a blessing for impoverished families and the disabled.
In 2011, the students founded Project Akshar as a service project sponsored by the nonprofit organization Enactus. This global organization promotes volunteerism among university students and encourages young adults to use service projects as an opportunity to develop skills that can be used in the business world.
The members of Project Akshar wanted to find a way to decrease the amount of paper waste that ended up in landfills while helping people who were living below the poverty level earn a sustainable income.
Now, the students make weekly trips to corporations, local schools and colleges in the area, picking up unwanted paper. The paper is then distributed to poor and disabled persons throughout New Delhi with the help of two NGOs. The individuals who participate in the work program process the waste paper into notebooks that are sold around the world.
In exchange for their work, participants in the program receive an income of around Rs 5,000 per month. Although this is only around $95 here in America, the pay rate puts participants at the average monthly earning level of India. It's a win-win-win situation for the planet, the workers and the students who gain “real world” work experience managing the project.
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