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Distressed over fabric waste generated at his father's garment factory being dumped in landfills, a 15-year-old Kolkata boy is using the waste material to stitch clothes for children.
In 2018, Tanay Jain started Katran Foundation to reduce the total waste generated at his father's garment factory and also help children. What began as a noble initiative is a full-fledged organisation that has helped several poor children.
Tanay came up with the idea in 2018. He began operations with the help of his aunt Vandana Jain, who is acquainted with the end to end processes taking place at his father's factory. She helped Tanay understand the entire process.
"After I observed waste material generated at the factory, it made me realise how we are polluting the environment. I thought of converting it into something useful, and the idea of using it for stitching clothes struck me. In the beginning, only friends and family members came forward to support this idea. However, when a tangible change was observed in society, we soon started escalating the operations," Tanay Jain told The Logical Indian.
To help Tanay with the operations, three of his friends- Raunak Sarawgi, Pratham Madhogari and Raunak Seksaria also joined him. All three of them are classmates who juggle studies and work together.
"All these months have been great while we were working for the foundation. We designed posts for the social media account as well as felt the joy of donating first hand. The entire journey has been amazing and couldn't be put in words. Though it has been tough managing everything along with exams, it gives the joy to help the needy children. The bright smile on their faces after they receive the final stitched clothes motivates us to keep working hard," said Pratham Madhogariah.
After he received support from his family and friends, the foundation started getting popular, and many people reached out to him for donations. For all those interested in donating stitched clothes to these children, Tanay charges ₹200 per dress. It includes all the expenses, right from the stitching to the delivery of the garment. Many donors, who wished to distribute clothes in orphanages or NGO's, place bulk orders for the upcycle clothes. Tanay has received positive feedback for all the garments which he has delivered so far.
Till now, Tanay has upcycled 3,500 meters of cloth and donated 2,500 dresses to underprivileged children in Kolkata and other cities as well such as Guwahati.
Soon after the foundation was established, several tailors were identified and brought to the factory. They were taught how they would stitch clothes by using scrap cloth. Later, the clothes prepared by them were dispatched to be distributed in the local orphanages. As of now, Katran Foundation has 68 tailors across Kolkata.
"When the work of our foundation started expanding, we started contacting tailors so that we could expedite the process of stitching. Many of these craftsmen were unemployed due to lack of work and resided in the suburban areas of Kolkata. They came from financially weaker sections of the society and were thankful to us for providing employment. Many of them are quite skilled in the work that they do. They often create decorative clothes out of the discarded small pieces of the clothes brought to the foundation, and the children appreciate these designs," said Tanay Jain.
The foundation now aims to popularise its work through social media and connect with similar organisations to help more children. The team is also planning to start similar upcycling activities in other cities as well.
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