Inmates at the Cheemeni Open Jail in Kasargod, Kerala are in for a back-to-school experience. But this time, the teacher taking their class will be 11-year-old Didhul Eldo!
This is going to be no ordinary class because this 11-year-old will teach the grown men how to make furniture from banana fibre.
A Class VI student from Muttil village’s WMO English Academy in Wayanad, Didhul will be accompanied by his father, Eldo P V.
Eldo, is a natural fibre researcher who heads the National Biotech Research Development Organisation in Meenangadi. The father-son duo will conduct the 24-day course for the inmates of the open jail next month.
Speaking to the New Indian Express about supporting his son’s initiative, Eldo says, “I have the technology to extract fibre from the plantain stem and turn it into paper roll. Didhul has a bend for design, and he will teach them how to make furniture using the paper roll,” says Eldo.
It is a common practice to use fibre from plantain stems to make yarn, handmade paper, paper cups, handbags and hats. But Eldo claims his research has concluded that paper rolls made from the banana fibre are as sturdy as wood and can be utilised to make furniture.
Didhul, the child prodigy has a series of accomplishments to his credits. In 2016, he made tiles using areca wood. His widely appreciated innovation was presented as a paper at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) at Pusa in Delhi. He is currently crafting exquisite coffee tables, chairs and dining tables from banana fibre paper rolls.
Shedding light on the advantages of paper roll, Didhul says, it can serve as an alternative to wood. The highlight is also the cost-efficiency. “For Rs 1,300, you will get a coffee table and two chairs. These will be runaway successes,” said Eldo.
This furniture made from banana fibre weighs around 2-3kgs and has a shelf life of over 10 years.
Feature Image Credit: The New Indian Express.