Do you know the Indian state of Odisha has a unique place in the tribal setting in India with 63 tribal communities (1), which constitute about 10 million people (Total population of Sweden, and there are about 5 Million tribal women in the state?
YES, we are talking about the lives of 5 million tribal women, and it is worth to invest our time and energy to makes a significant impact on their lives. It is indeed a herculean task on the part of both government and NGOs to find different ways and means to assist the tribal women in particular to climb the ladder of development and progress. Read more in this blog here.
During my recent visit in December, I’ve seen the progress made in their lives in the last 15 months. They seem to be much more upbeat with the newfound source of income within the village. The newly instilled self-confidence in them helps them maneuver their lives and family decisions within a highly patriarchal society.
In order to understand their world, I tried to get involved in their daily routine. It helped us to further understand their aspirations, difficulties, challenges, hopes and how we could make their lives even beyond providing them income opportunities. At the same time, it was quite an adventure for me to join them early in the morning and go to the forest to pick leaves, then spend the afternoon with them in learning tribal traditional skills of using the leaves and later see them at the community center working and having fun.
It is very crucial to consider the sociological and cultural setting to enable women to come out of their clichés. The project Leafymade gives my life and work a meaning, makes me humble, and gives me life-enriching experience. Leafymade philosophy is that we leave nothing behind, and we leave no one behind. Even though what we do is just a drop in the ocean and many more mountains need to be climbed, we feel vindicated when we see the impact of our work in real life.
These are only possible because of the support and belief our partners/customers have bestowed upon Leafymade. Through the effort of our tribal women and the willingness of the consumers in Sweden to adopt a sustainable alternative to paper and plastic disposable, we have been able to replace 2 tons of disposable wastes with biodegradable Leafymade products.
This year we promise to continue to learn, improve, contribute, and together make this world a little better place.
By: Meenu Choudhary
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