During the lockdown last year in March and April one of my sillier worries was disposing of our rubbish. I live in a flat in Delhi, if the kuda wala (rubbish man) doesn't come and we are not supposed to go out what on earth will we do with our rubbish? I woke up worrying about it on more than one occasion. Imagine therefore if you live in a remote Himalayan region where waste just has nowhere to go. Protecting that delicate Himalayan environment whilst employing people with disabilities is one of the goals of Peoples Action Group for Inclusion and Rights (PAGIR), in Leh.
They train people with a variety of disabilities to make bricks from waste, handmade paper, note books, bags for grocery shops from waste paper. MESH has been working alongside PAGIR for a number of years, providing design and capacity building support and buying and selling the products they make from waste, most especially from katran (off cuts) from tailor's shops in the city.
Just now we are delighted to have an order for PAGIR to make sanitary pads for CBN Foundation which is running a campaign especially for adolescent women about menstrual health and hygiene. Three civil society organisations working together and in the process helping to protect the delicate Himalayan environment and enabling women to access low-cost sanitary pads is like a dream project.
The first pads have just arrived and we hope this will be one of many orders which will provide work to mountain men and women with disabilities and income for their larger work of advocacy.
Photo credits Bruce Harber