Trash to Cash brings earning power to the disabled
New Delhi-based Trash to Cash has a heartening mission: it supports young adults with disabilities to earn an income.
Incorporated in 2013, Trash to Cash is the result of a development initiative via its not-for-profit arm Prabhat Society for Children. The program provides the children from poor handicraft-based families and communities across India with a rigorous program of academics, social skills and habits. At the age of 18, students are then transferred to the skill-building and income-generation program where they apprentice with other skilled workers with disabilities while they learn on the job. The program not only provides them with the necessary skill set to succeed at their jobs, but also become more confident in their capabilities, get more support from their families, and have the ability to access raw materials for their work in creative recycling.
According to Madhumita Puri, founder and executive director of Trash to Cash, “A lot of the time, established and skilled artisans collaborate with us to provide ongoing training in quality and product development. A unique and organic inclusive integration, which though initiated by Trash to Cash is slowly taking a life of its own!”
Trash to Cash’s primary collection, Avacayam, consists of home furnishing products such as cushions, runners, throws and rugs. "The collection is based on our beautiful "Flower Story" which began as our contribution to keeping our rivers clean and to include people with disability in the process. The mountains of flowers that are offered to the gods in worship posed a special challenge of respecting peoples beliefs and responsible disposal. Every day of the year, our collection vans visit the temples in New Delhi and collect over 200 pounds of flowers. These are then sorted, cut and dried by our amazing team of 70 young adults,” said Puri.
The dried petals are used to make dyes, powders, and incense sticks. The dyes and petals are used for eco-printing. “The process of eco-printing draws its method from the traditional practices used in India with techniques for finishing and color fastness in the textiles and yarns woven, she added.
Trash to Cash will be traveling to attend NY NOW’s Artisan Resource at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City from August 20-23. This will be their first time attending the show. They will be exhibiting home furnishing products from the Avacayam Collection, as well as lampshades and stationary made from upcylced materials. Also on view will be Prabhat by Dina, a collaborative brand developed by a French designer with a disability. She has teamed up with Trash to Cash to make bags and other storage options.
For more information visit www.trashtocashindia.com.