Belonging to a business family with a passion for social service, Chaitali Das of Rakshak Foundation from Kolkata has been working diligently for empowering the lives of jail inmates along with reviving and popularizing jute products……
Guinness World Record Holder for the Largest Jute Bag in the World
The award for largest jute bag measuring 30.68 m breadth x 24.87 m length x 6.3m width was achieved by Chaitali Das and Rakshak Foundation on 7 January. The record was attempted in order to send a larger-than-life message to the world towards the necessity of ecological conservation and embracing sustainable, eco-friendly material like jute to create a greener, healthier and more inclusive world for generations ahead. It was prepared by released prison inmates, women & youth from vulnerable sections of the society at the school grounds of St. Thomas Schools, Khidderpore in Kolkata,
“The frequent lock-outs of jute mills leave workers in trouble with many taking extreme steps like suicide. So revival of jute is very important and this is possible only by reaching out to a maximum number of people by diversification. It has to be more than just gunny bags. Jute is natural, organic, eco-friendly, strong and reusable. Thus, we started our initiative ‘Jute Story Behind Bars’ five years back,” chairperson and managing trustee of Rakshak Foundation, Chaitali Das told Chalgenius.
Jute revivalist and social entrepreneur
Known as jute revivalist, Chaitali has won several International and National Awards and recognitions for her work in this area. Her mission is to promote use of Jute as a Sustainable, Responsible and Fashionable alternative across the globe. She is a former AFT Mrs. International, spearheading Rakshak Foundation as its Global Chairperson and Managing Trustee. Her field of work and focus areas are empowering women, conserving environment and targeting inclusive growth. She is the first Fortune, Most Powerful Woman/ U.S. State Department Alumna from West Bengal, India and is also the first woman to represent a voluntary organization to the People’s Republic of China in 2018. In 2019, she led an all-women’s delegation to China.
Roping in jail inmates
Chaitali has held various events to promote awareness and sensitization of the society about prison inmates. “Inmates get training on jute artisanship. It is a 45-day training by certified trainers from Jute Board. We even pay stipends to the inmates. I believe in the concept of empowering lives to change the lives of thousands,” said Chaitali adding that from starting with 40 inmates of Dum Dum Correctional Home she has till now worked with four jails in West Bengal and trained over 1600 inmates.
“Apart from organizing events where our products are showcased, we have a 1200 square feet studio at Alipore Road where our products are exhibited round the year. We have stunning products ranging from table mat sets, shopping bags, cushion covers, rugs, magazine holders, coasters and other customised items.”
Funds generated used for inclusive growth
“The funds generated from this initiative are used for sustaining the project, harnessing creativity, engaging artisans, empowering lives and conserving environment. Our products are reasonably priced and customised to specific needs,” Chaitali said.
There are 3 basic purposes namely promoting “go-green” initiative of Government of India, promoting West Bengal government’s ‘Egiye Bangla’ motto in jute production and revival of jute as a fashion statement.
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Keywords: chalgenius, start-ups, Rakshak Foundation, vocal for local, atmanirbhar bharat, Jute mills
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