Sameera Jalan, a 16-year-old from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, founded PinThread, an initiative that teaches rural women and children of domestic help how to convert waste fabric into useful items like laptop covers, pencil cases, and more.
More than 110 million tonnes of apparel and textile fibers are produced every year, leading to high amounts of waste that finish up either being incinerated or disposed of in landfills. These textiles can take upward to two hundred years to decompose. Getting researched on waste material, one teen has walked up to upcycle fabric waste to lessen its environmental impact.
Throughout the pandemic-induced lockdown, Sameera Jalan, a 16-year-old from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, decided to empower countryside women while utilizing their sewing skills. “When I had been walking around with in my neighbourhood 1 day, We saw a lady being roughed up by the girls’ husband. The girl was pleading with him to consider her back again, ” the girl says, adding this event left an indelible tag on the girl.
After pondering over it for some time, Sameera Jalan noticed if girls in the villages were independent and a source of income. She then spoke to the kids of domestic help whose schooling was afflicted by the pandemic and discovered they had a few skills in common, ones they had learned in their childhood like cooking, sewing, and cleaning.
Sameera noticed a shine of wish in girls. She states, “I desired to make it their power which is the way the idea of PinThread, a not-for-profit platform, was created. ”
Sameera Jalan, creator of PinThread
PinThread upcycles waste fabric to make finished products. Girls and young women acquainted with stitching and sewing are trained to stitch finished products like face masks, laundry handbags, organizers, pockets, etc.
‘I feel strengthened enough to follow my dreams’
Though, PinThread could have obtained off to a rugged start. Sameera Jalan explains, “I didn’t view the will to learn inside them. But I could see the long-term advantages of honing their skills, and kept going. When I look back today, I am thankful I didn’t give up on them. ” As a class 10 student of an international school in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, Sameera was always exploring ideas for her project. Being an ardent believer of sustainability and its importance, Jalan started PinThread.
“My motto was to collaborate my ideas with these girls, introduce them to sustainability and bring out their hidden talents. In July 2020, I gave six girls journals made out of recycled paper and asked them to imagine themselves as fashion designers who could design anything in the world. I guided them to experiment with fabrics and colours for a myriad of products, ” she says, adding, “They had to make entries in these journals. This was a fun task where I got to know their thoughts so that I could collaborate their ideas and cultures with mine. ”
In the meantime, Sameera Jalan came up with a listing of products they could stitch with waste fabrics collected from boutiques around Gorakhpur. She even roped in a tailor to train the girls.
“It’s important to note that working with waste fabric was a new concept for all of us. We had to come up with ways to stitch together different pieces of fabrics to make finished products that would also bring in income. While I learnt how to stitch, the girls improved their stitching skills, ” Sameera points out.
When Sameera collected the journals from the girls after a month, she was left pleasantly surprised with their entries. She adds, “These girls had come up with such unique and traditional motifs like flowers, peacock, etc. that no fashion schools could teach. It made me think how their encounters and love for sewing can condition one’s considering process. ”
This permitted Sameera to work in conjunction and include their color palettes and patterns to create products collectively.
Kiran Mandal, an 18-year-old girl, could not attend school during the 2020 lockdown. Although the girl spent some of the girl’s time doing household tasks, she experienced a great deal of wasted time doing nothing. Yet dedicating two hours of the girl’s day to PinThread daily has already been her light at the ending of the canal in the last couple of months.
“Earlier, We only understood how to stitch a blouse. However the experience of using waste materials fabric to create products like washing bags and organisers captivated me. This leaves me personally feeling strengthened to know that We are earning. I possess picked upward new skills showing how waste materials clothes can be used again. To understand something Sameera didi as our mentor is the best thing that I might have asked for, ” Kiran says. These skills have made the girl so assured that the 18-year-old informs me she is not scared to the department on the girl’s own.
Mittali Kumar tensions how the initiative is helping the girl earn and become independent. “Since my parents are old, Personally i think bad to count on them for me. We don’t want to plead for something. I want to be independent and support my loved ones, ” the girl says. The particular 23-year-old does not allow the girl’s financial constraints to deter her. She adds, “Working at PinThread is helping me follow my dreams of becoming a teacher. ”
Rupali Kumar, 21, wants to become a nurse. But she knows she has to work hard to support her dreams and break the norms of how women are portrayed in her society. “It is important that I work so I don’t have to rely on anyone. Having my own money enables me personally to invest it the way in which We want. Although people still feel that ladies can’t work, and only boys should, I assume that a lady can do much better than a child, ” Rupali says.
Beginning the venture
When PinThread introduced usana products to their family and friends in September 2020, the support and reply were mind-boggling. Girls experience mastered their training to stitch restricted products—like roll-up pencil instances, shoe addresses, warm water handbag covers, potli bags, laptops, and cell covers—within a short time period.
Yet when PinThread took to social press platforms, the demands for their products grew greatly. “People who didn’t know reached away. This worked well ideal for all of us as comments from the unknown masses helped all of us improvise and expand our selection of products, ” claims Sameera, adding, “My goal was to create a platform that required a minimum cost. Our daily expenses include our customize charges and the periodic expenses to resolve specialized problems in the stitching machines. ”
Jalan proceeds, “The women should be able to source waste materials fabric at no cost. They need to spend to buy stitching equipment. By focusing their sewing skills, I’d be equipping these the knowledge of reducing and recycling waste materials. ”
Given that their beginning, PinThread has sold products worth Rs 1. 2 lakh with every associate in the team generating upto Rs 700 each week, working just two hrs on weekdays.
For Sameera, this is not the finish, but only the commence to the girl entrepreneurship. “It’s like a chain. A small-town woman with a little thought, and passion to work can make a change and inspire many others, ” she says, adding, “Gender will always be a part of your identity, not your full identity; society will talk but that shouldn’t stop you from doing what’s best for you. ”