In Ladakh, a group of differently abled people have earned a distinct recognition in environmental protection. With advocacy for inclusiveness in the society, the group of Divyangs named People’s Action Group for Inclusion and Rights have pioneered in waste management.
Here’s an inspiring story Divyangs from our correspondent, on the occasion of 50th year of AIR Leh :
“Every year Ladakh generates hundreds of tonnes of waste. Management of trash coming from old clothes, tailors, old school books, note books and news papers was a challenge in fragile Ladakh environment. Thirteen years ago, a group of people with special needs, led by Late Md. Iqbal Ahmed, a 90 per cent disable person, have introduced recycling the waste materials in Leh town.
Ever since, they are promoting wealth from waste for betterment of society and environment. New products they crafted from the old clothes and tailor trash like bedsheet, pillow covers, coin purses, wallet and bags have been the most preferred souvenirs for tourists visiting Ladakh. Their contribution is now recogzised and now supported by the government.
UT Administration is procuring file covers made from recycled old papers by the PAGIR members. People and Government Departments too offering unused clothes and old papers for free to PAGIR for recycling. All these activities are being carried under the banner of Jungwa Shrunskyob which translates to Environment Protection in Ladakhi. These small scale activities have turned into a business enterprise and significantly a major source for financial empowerment of Diyang people.
When the COVID pandemic struck Ladakh in early March last year and lockdown, Diyang tailors of PAGIR have fulfilled the huge demand of face masks in Leh town, for general public. They learnt mask making from internet and local medical department and supplied sewn cloth masks with the support of stakeholders of tourism industry. Divyang members of PAGIR have helped the Administration in containing the spread of virus in Leh when every route was closed.”