Sahariya tribe is a nomadic tribe in Madhya Pradesh that deals with poverty of the magnitude that mothers buy saris and tear them in half so that their daughters have something to wear. These people have little money available for essentials, let alone luxuries like education. The women are typically very badly treated, often turning to prostitution or collecting dry wood to sell to neighbouring towns and villages to make ends meet.
This is when TARA (Technology and Action for Rural Advancement) came to their rescue in 1996 by setting up a handmade paper plant in Orchha, MP. TARA and its parent organization, Development Alternatives (DA) have striven to bring people, environment and technology together – delivering lasting solutions for basic human needs. TARA has done in- house innovations of various green technology and their Paper Recycling unit is one of them.
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On observing that the Sahariya women were skilled with their hands, TARA imparted training to 21 women in making paper products like notebooks and file covers, and started the Handmade Paper Unit with 30 women who learnt to convert cotton rags to paper. With 29 surrounding villages as its stakeholders, the paper unit has flourished and now employs more than 60 Sahariya women.
The Handmade Paper Unit has changed the lives of these Sahariya women who can now earn enough to feed and clothe themselves, and have gained sufficient skills to to create innovative products. More so, they have been able to carve out a life of dignity for themselves, and have also established a women’s cooperative – the Sahariya Sangram Samiti, meaning the Struggle of the Sahariya Cooperative. This cooperative not only provides the women with literacy and skills training, but has also become the village node for loans and saving accounts.
Sahariya are truly writing their futures on the paper they make!
TARA Handmade Paper Technology is a unique technology to recycle waste like cotton rags, denim materials, fibres and used paper into high quality handmade paper. Today TARA is a proud producer of an infinite range of high quality handmade paper and paper products. Community groups are able to successfully use the technology to manufacture handmade paper and handcrafted products which are marketed commercially. To know more about them and their technology, contact them at the address below:
29, Ghitorni, Mehrauli, Gurgaon Road, New Delhi – 110030
Tele-fax – +91–11– 26801521, 26804482, 26805826