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Waste Warriors Of India

Threads of Compassion: Transforming Discarded Jeans Into Warmth For The Homeless

Nirvaan Somany, 17, repurposes discarded jeans into sleeping bags and distributes them among the poor, through his project Jeans – Blue To Green

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Nirvaan, says that these repurposed jeans carry stories of resilience and solidarity, turning threads of waste into threads of hope

New Delhi: What began as a school competition turned into a mission. As a 13 year old, Nirvaan Somany, was supposed to pitch a business idea as part of a school activity. He proposed Project Jeans – Blue To Green, and the rest, as they say, is history.

What is Project Jeans?

The idea is simple – repurpose discarded jeans into sleeping bags for the homeless. It helps them survive the harsh winters of the city. The social entrepreneur has, so far, rescued a staggering 9,000 pairs of jeans from the perils of landfills and recycled upwards of 100 million litres of water. Up till now, 2,000 sleeping bags across several cities in India, including Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, and Kolkata has been distributed.

Talking about how the project came into being, Nirvaan said,

I had conceived of this idea in 2019, as a part of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a competition held at my school where we had to pitch a business idea to the investors. I wanted to pitch a business idea that can have an impact in the environment as well as the society. I had already thought of recycling a product but had not decided on the product.

Also Read: 50 Lakhs Of Plastic Waste And Counting! From Chips Packet, Cassettes To Plastic Bags, EcoKaari Is Upcycling Plastic Into Bags

Meanwhile, as winter enveloped Delhi, Nirvaan found himself deeply troubled by the plight of the homeless amidst the cold season in the city,

In Delhi, many of us often give blankets to people living on the streets. However, I came to realise that this was not a complete solution as the blanket might not last long. But a proper sleeping bag would.

The thought prompted Nirvaan to delve deeply into the issue and explore various materials known for their durability, leading him to discover denim. But he realised the amount of environmental impact of the product, through a social media post,

I saw a social media post by the United Nations that stated that it takes around 10,000 litres to make a single pair of jeans. That was shocking. This means I had wasted 50,000 litres of water, looking at my five pairs of jeans. That’s when I thought of making sleeping bags out of the donated jeans.

During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Nirvaan, supported by his family, spent two years perfecting a sleeping bag prototype with local tailors. By 2022, the product was ready. He then turned to social media to seek donations for his cause.

Within the first few months, we collected nearly 1,000 jeans and converted them into sleeping bags. I also involved a couple of women living the rural settlements behind my locality, and involved them into the sewing and stitching process. So the project not only catered to the environment, the homeless but helped in empowering these women who did not have any work in their hands.

Threads of Compassion: Transforming Discarded Jeans Into Warmth For The Homeless

Nirvaan donating sleeping bags in the streets of Delhi

Project Jeans has also reached out to the victims of the earthquake that took place in Turkey and Syria, through their embassies in Delhi. Additionally, Nirvaan has teamed up with multiple NGOs and Multinational Corporations to scale up the project’s reach to the needy.

Talking about the project,

If I am able to make a difference on two ends with one product, everybody can contribute in their own ways.

Nirvaan, 17, says that these repurposed jeans carry stories of resilience and solidarity, turning threads of waste into threads of hope.

Also Read: Jaipur-Based Artist Recycles E-Waste From Banks Into 10-Feet-Tall Statue

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India. 

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