Old newspapers, new beginnings
The western world might have taken to digital news but most Indian people love their newspapers. Apart from reading them, a lot of us use them as bed mats for eating while sitting on the bed, for cleaning glass objects or mirrors, for lining our cupboards to save our clothes from dust or for finding the right life partners. We also make money from old newspapers by selling them on to recyclers. This is called 'raddi'. Each kilogram of raddi can be sold for up to Rs 10 in Delhi.
When we were presented with the task of multi-faith action and collecting funds for a maternal health project in a slum resettlement colony in Delhi, we thought let’s do it the "raddi" way! Income from raddi is something that people don't mind generally parting with. Most people sell newspapers to get rid of them really because there is no space to store them. So we thought, let’s tap this money that people unconsciously make and ask them to donate it.
We asked them to bring their newspapers when they come to worship. We talked to temples, churches, Gurudwaras and mosques and asked them to keep our collection boxes in their premises.
In the first week, four places of worship agreed to do the collection for us. At first the working committees heard us with amusement because they had never thought temples would be the place for such work. Then they regarded us with suspicion - would the newspapers be enough? And finally they became enthusiastic about this new idea!
This week, we raised our first money from the collected newspapers. What a great feeling it was that people had contributed 'raddi' for good! They had remembered to carry old newspapers to their place of worship. And they have in their own way proved that faith is a force for good. And that 'raddi can be a force for good too!