An Interview with ‘Project Basera Team’
About Enactus SSCBS
Enactus, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS) was started as an attempt to reach out to people in need, based on principles of entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
Enactus SSCBS has strived to use the positive power of business to empower the underprivileged. With a three-fold objective of economic, social and environmental betterment, the team believes in its power to be the change the world needs.
When and How did you think about Project Basera?
One in every hundred people in urban India is homeless. Although the state government has established nearly 300 shelters which on an average can accommodate just over 20,000 people, only 8,000 people stay in these shelters.
Through on-ground visits and surveys, we found that while most of the people were completely dependent on the shelter, others resorted to begging or were working in the informal sector. We also got to know that some of the reasons for the low rate of occupancy in these shelters are its cleanliness, apathetic attitude of the caretaker, lack of basic amenities, indiscipline and violence.
Having first-hand witnessed the condition of women in the homeless shelters, we were deeply moved and decided as a team, to work towards their upliftment.
Hoping to transform lives and bring in sustainable solutions, we initiated Project Basera in June, 2020.
Explain more about Project Basera, What makes it special?
Launched in June 2020, Project Basera aims to eliminate plastic pollution and redefine the path to homelessness by inculcating self-sufficiency and economic reliance among the people in homeless shelters.
A holistic solution comprising product development and employment, community interaction and sensitization, and managerial and infrastructural improvement was developed.
These form the pillars of Basera.
Our business model deals with utilizing synthetic fabric, including upcycling of unused PPE scrap to make a range of low cost and innovative products such as mattresses and bags. This is done using a technique called ‘braiding’. These are not only lightweight but also affordable.
Another segment of our model deals with collecting waste corrugated cardboard boxes and transforming them into sustainable furniture products. We offer a range of eco-friendly products such as desks, stools, chairs, etc.
From whom do you got inspiration to start Project Basera and who is your mentor?
We got inspiration from Ms. Lakshmi Menon, founder of Pure Living. She developed the method of converting and upcycling the PPE scrap into mattresses and other products.
She had donated around 700 mattresses to old age homes and COVID care centers.
Her efforts have also been recognised by the United Nations. She has guided us at every step of our journey and helped us by transferring the technical knowledge to our team.
What challenges did you face while setting up Project Basera?
During the initial stage of our project there was lack of sanitation, cleanliness and hygiene in the homeless shelter.
There was a lack of management and no proper distribution of chores. To tackle this problem, we conducted extensive sensitization sessions and thus ensured a hygienic environment.
We also ensured that there is a proper allocation of tasks among the women.
After selling a few of our products we got to know about the flaws from the feedback received from our customers. We were able to significantly improve the quality of our products through extensive research and by providing training to our entrepreneurs.
Since the inception of our Project our journey has been filled with unprecedented challenges but we aim to meet them all. We will not halt until our vision of providing better living to more such people is accomplished.
What’s Project Basera’s funding status and what are the future plans?
We get our funding through a process called Bootstrapping where we only utilize funds raised through our personal finances and the operating revenue of our project. Additional funds are generated by winning various grants and various national level competitions.
In our endeavour to expand our project and create a paramount impact, we want to expand our operations to other homeless shelters in Delhi.
Moreover, we observed and researched that PPE scrap is just a diminutive part of what actually contributes to marine pollution’s hence, we are also considering to utilize waste synthetic clothing materials, which contributes to about 35% of micro plastic in water bodies, this will also ensure feasibility in availability of micro plastic fragments needed for mattresses.
Thus our aim to ensure more and more viability in terms of employment generation and environmental boon can be warranted.
-[Short video about Project Basera]-
A few words about VID!
Viral Indian Diary is a great online platform and serves as a motivator for thousands of people who aim to express their thoughts and create a meaningful impact.
It is doing a phenomenal job in motivating young minds to pursue their dream and inspiring people across the nation.
-[shared by Muskaan Chhatwal, Associate Enactus SSCBS]-
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“Thank you Team ‘Project Basera‘ for the interview. we wish you all the very best with your vision and future projects.”