Prime Minister Narendra Modi praises Kerala college's recycled toys initiative
The students of St Teresa’s College in Kochi, Kerala earned praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their unique use of sustainable and upcycled material to make toys for children in anganwadis in the state.
The Prime Minister mentioned this unique initiative by the Department of Fashion Designing and the Society of Teresians for Environmental Protection (STEP) along with other stakeholders in his Mann ki Baat address on Sunday. “Such initiatives need to be adopted by others,” said the Prime Minister. “The students of St Teresa’s College in Ernakulam in Kerala are making dolls out of discarded used cloth and pieces of wood. These child-friendly toys are then donated to the anganwadis,” said the PM.
The students of St Teresa's College have a unique initiative for making toys out of recycled and upcycled material. The toys are gifted to children at anaganwadis
According to a report in The New Indian Express, he said this solves the waste problem and gives underprivileged children access to quality toys. The initiative began with making bags and pencil pouches, said Nirmala Padmanabhan, who leads the project and teaches in the college’s Department of Economics.
She said that a lot of cloth was being generated from making the bags that could not be repurposed. “That’s when the idea of making soft toys using these pieces developed,” said Nirmala. The initiative called ‘Kalicheppu’ (box of toys) has joined hands with Kochi corporation and self-help group Kudumbashree to solve the waste cloth issue of the district. A shredder has been installed at the college. “This initiative will not only solve the waste problem but also give employment to women belonging to Kudumbashree units in the district,” she added.
The Logical Indian reported that 28 students created the toys as a part of their project Kalicheppu, but did not expect it to be given to the children. "All we were told was that the best would be selected to be handed over. Fortunately, all turned out so good that they were all given," The Hindu quoted a student Rethika as saying.
The project was initiated in September 2020 and students were instructed that toys had to be educational as well as child-safe.
The college works with Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) for training and awareness programs for Anganwadi teachers. As for the next project, the teachers would be taught to make similar toys from discarded materials.