These college students are providing clean drinking water, and empowering villagers through livelihood training in West Bengal

Students of St Xavier’s College in Kolkata have initiated Project Kalakriti, which has generated an income source for villagers. Their other project, Shuddhi, is providing clean and safe drinking water to many urban slums and villages at a very low cost.

A group of second year students from Enactus St Xavier’s College, Kolkata, is doing its bit to make the world a better place. Called Team Enactus, they have been working towards empowering women and men across villages in West Bengal through Project Kalakriti and Project Shuddhi.

Started in 2016, Project Kalakriti focuses on ‘Talking Pots’. These pots have emerged as an eco-friendly alternative to flower bouquets, which generate a large amount of waste. Due to the presence of plastic, they render composting or even recycling unfeasible.

On the Project Kalakriti, Unnati Narsaria, a member, told Efforts For Good,

It endeavours to spread optimism, grace, dexterity and some thousand stories of perseverance in the disguise of intricately designed pots.

A woman works on the pots. (Image: Efforts For Good)

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The team also organised a workshop in the remote village of Bengal, where women were trained in painting pots and other clay figurines. These workshops have given people a new lease of life. For instance, some women were once addicted to drugs and abandoned by the villagers. Thanks to Project Kalakriti, they now have a source of income and are no longer addicted to drugs.

Under the project, over 3,500 pots have been sold in the urban market of Kolkata. To make the pots attractive to youngsters, they come in different themes, ranging from Minions to Avengers.

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This project claims to have done enough work to reduce 360 tonnes of carbon emissions, and has prevented the use of around 1,650 tonnes of plastic.

Besides empowering the people of the village in Bengal, Team Enactus is also countering the issue of water contamination in villages. Initiated in 2018, Project Shuddhi is battling issues such as poor water quality by providing an affordable and eco-friendly water filter. Designed by the college students, the low-gravitational filter cleans out heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and pathogens.

The filter comes in three different volumes - nine litres, 24 litres, and 70 litres - and comprises a terafil candle made up of red clay, river sand, and sawdust (natural filtration elements). It also has a mineral cartridge with a layer of minerals, and can filter up to 2,000 litres of water.

According to the college website, the project has filtered over 20,00,000 litres of water , and has impacted over 10,000 lives in urban slums of Raghudevpur and Purulia, Kolkata. In terms of cost, the filter can provide 10 litres of drinkable water for less than a rupee in an hour.

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