From Lakshmi, creator of Rolapena . . .
While working on a weekly craft workshop for the underprivileged kids for Handycraftz India, I considered rolling a pen, using only the ink refill and a magazine page. While rolling a pen, I realized how very easy it was to make, that even the youngest students could easily create the pen as a project, and how easily accessible and eco-friendly the materials were. I grew excited by the idea that making the pens could be more than one activity; it could be an on-going project for our family school ‘The Village’ in Kerala, India. Students could roll regularly as a way to produce their own eco-friendly pens and make the school a plastic pen-free zone . . . And then I was struck by the thought, “Why not all schools?" And then, “Why not everyone?" Paper pens are an amazing eco-friendly alternative to plastic disposable pens. Good Karma Foundation supports the production of Rolapena paper pens while Pure Living conducts training and environmental awareness programs. At this time, the production of Rolapena creates employment for disenfranchised women and the differently abled in Kerala, India. Rolapena are currently in Indian schools, bookstores, stationary shops, and boutiques.
'Wicksdom' is an initiative to make wicks for oil lamps out of cotton yarn. The loving hands behind this initiative belong to our elders in old age homes for the poor. They find relief in this activity to use their time effectively and also to have an additional source of income.
It started as an activity to keep our 88-year-old grandma occupied. She regularly makes wicks for our lamps in the prayer room. We suggested that she make a few extra ones to distribute among her other children and relatives. The excitement she had in gifting the wicks made us realize how much she yearns to prove that she is still worthy of doing something for others. We also started supplying her wicks to temples in and around India. This gave her immense joy to know that the wicks were used in faraway temples which she is unable to visit.
How we do it . . .
The raw materials are provided for free to the elders. There is no skilled training required as they are accustomed to the process of rolling wicks throughout their lives. We sell the rolled wicks to temples, individuals and institutions. It is a small task which keeps the old aged in poor homes occupied and also helps them earn a living. Another advantage is that rolling wicks gives an amazing accupressure effect to their fingers as they twist the cotton fiber.
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