Literacy India, caring for environment, practised as its taught celebrating Global Recycling Day
Literacy India was established in 1996 as a non-profit organization with the primary objective of providing education, employ-enablement and empowerment to underprivileged children, youth and woman. Since its inception, sustainability was at the core of all the programs designed by the NGO. The 360-degree approach of refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle is reflected in all their practises, especially when it comes to resource management. These practises are lived by the children and the community, deepening the understanding of the importance of sustainable practices.After nearly two decades, Literacy India has established a scalable model at its centre in Gurgaon and set to adapt similar sustainable practices in all their operations by 2030. “Over the years, Literacy India has been fortunate to get the resource and know-how support from partners. We partnered with Tupperware India, Fluor Daniel, DZ CARD India Pvt. Ltd. and Microsoft India who helped with several upgradation of our in-house Wastepaper recycling plant. Bry-Air(Asia) Pvt. Ltd. helped with Rainwater Harvesting, and KPMG, Renew Power supported with setting up the Solar Plant for the whole building. The responsibility of protecting our environment rests on all our shoulder, and we are in this together to make this a success,” said Capt. Indraani Singh, Airbus Fleet Captain and Founder-Trustee of Literacy India.
The Centre of Excellence-Vidyapeeth
This Literacy India Centre at village Bajghera, Gurgaon, Haryana is an ideal ‘Centre of Excellence’ for sustainable practises and circular economy. The education centre provides professional and technical skills to community children. Besides providing classroom education, alternate teaching methods for holistic development, life skills and professional skill sets are also deployed by the educators. “The aim is simple, that this generation inculcates all the good practices which we teach; and what better way to teach but to put them in action in everyday life,” adds Captain Singh.
Energy efficiency through renewable source
Spread over just half acre land, the Literacy India Vidyapeeth Centre is attended by 1200-1500 students and youth. The two storied school and vocational centre is built to ensure proper ventilation and use daylight optimally. Solar panels fitted on the roofs meet 80% of the energy needs. The ongoing incremental phase up of the installation of the panels will soon meet 100% of the energy needs of the centre.
“From a very early age, children are educated about energy saving, renewable energy and Carbon footprint. Now, been added to formal curricular, we at Literacy India had incorporated it in our practise and teaching much before. ‘Seeing is believing’, is a common saying and for young minds, it leaves lasting impression,” says Dhananjay, an educator and Project officer at the Centre.
Water saving by reduce, reuse and recycle
“One of our major focus when it comes to resource optimization is water. In 2004, when we started our centre, the water quality at the village was extremely poor. Keeping in mind the hard-pressed need of clean water accessibility, we installed a rainwater harvesting system. The system collects rainwater and feeds back to underground water table. The system has been instrumental in improving the water table at the school land than rest of the village. This resulted in improved water quality, so much so that the TDS level dropped to make the water drinkable,” says Singh.
Water scarcity remains a global issue world, India has only 4% of global freshwater reserves while housing 16% of the world’s population. Reducing freshwater uptake by recycling water is one of the handiest solutions. Literacy India ensures water discharged from the toilet and kitchen sinks are rerouted to be used in flushes for toilets and gardening.
Being located at the lowest region of the village ,Literacy India plans to build rainwater storage tanks at the compound, so that run off rainwater can be partially stored in these tanks for future use. The stored water will also help with the paper recycling plant installed within the campus The recycling plant itself reuses water multiple time during the process before being used for gardening.
Waste to resource: Our upcycling and circular model
Solid waste is another issue Governments across the country are grappling with. Sources say about 80% of waste generated makes it to the landfills.
Literacy India, however, treats waste as a resource and believe that any material rejected can be refurbished, recycled, or upcycled depending on its nature and condition. The in-house paper recycling plant is proof that the organisation takes recycling extremely seriously. Waste cotton is bought from factories and used notebooks and stationery from children are sourced. The waste cotton is then segregated and used to produce marketable high quality drawing sheets besides being used by children studying at the Centre. Post segregation, non-cotton materials are handed to entrepreneur who uses it to create carpets, mats etc which are bought back and marketed.
“Sustainable practices are constantly evolving, we encourage our colleagues and co-workers to train themselves, innovate and experiment with new ideas which builds on our belief of resource optimization. We are now scaling most of our initiatives to centres across the country as it’s our endeavour to secure our future by following sustainable practices in everything we do,” remarked Captain Singh.