“Excuse me, do you use TetraPaks?” Blank look. “You know… Frooti, Real, Milk. Do you use TetraPaks while cooking?” “Yes, sometimes.” “After you’ve finished using them, can you please donate the empty ones to Shishuvan school? We send them for recycling to Vapi where they are made into furniture and books.” “Wow, sure I’ll send them to Shishuvan.” “Do you know where our school is located?” “Yes, I do.” ” Thanks! Have a good day!”
This was a typical conversation when Shishuvan’s TetraPak campaigners went out to different parts of Matunga, asking for donations of used TetraPaks. Campaigners from Std VIII conducted a mini-rally (a bigger version will follow in the month of December), targeting a few neighbourhoods in Matunga. Campaigners from Std IX and X also joined in.
Std VIII had created a Papier-mâché Ganapati for the rally. They tried their best to use minimal resources, and reused plastic bottles for decoration. They got help from Gitesh, the art teacher and viola! The recycled Ganapati was ready! They created a palkhi (palanquin) to carry the idol on.
Everyone gathered the rally props – lezims, flags, drum, cymbals, cameras and the palkhi; and assembled in near the gate. With a loud ‘Ganapati bappa morya’, out they went. The lezim players were in the front in two columns, followed by the palkhi bearers. The rest of the campaigners took the rear (they were a little shy). The path was somewhat decided: To Maheshwari Udyan, then to market and right up to Ruia college.
Std VI performed a street play on saving water resources and wildlife twice. They didn’t get much response the first time. The second time, however, they performed in front of a Ganesh pandal and not only had a bigger audience but also a bigger applause.
The campaigners knew they had done a good job, when people stopped to look and complemented them on reusing materials. A beggar girl wanted to give money to the ‘idol’ and when refused, placed a marigold flower instead. A shopkeeper wanted to offer money too, but the campaigners informed him that they needed plastic bottles and used TetraPaks. The palkhi was heavy due to the thick bamboo sticks, but the campaigners were happy to take turns to share the ‘burden’.
Then the campaigners began having conversations with people near the market and colleges. They were careful to be quieter (no lezims, drums or slogans) near the colleges so as not to disturb the students inside. One memorable moment was when a gentleman stepped up and gave his card titled ‘A concerned citizen’ and offered support. There were many opportunities to learn with scope for improvement which the campaigners wrote down in their ‘What Went Well (WWW)’ and ‘Even Better If (EBI)’ experiences.
Pulling off the rally was no mean task – there were many hurdles and time constraints. Their passion to do something for the environment, kept them going.
They plan another rally soon and hope to reach out to more people in Matunga educating them on the importance of recycling and reusing materials like PET bottles and TetraPaks. We wish them great success!
Keep abreast of the activities of Shishuvan TetraPak Campaign on Facebook here.