“How can 6,50,000 students of Mumbai University, spread across four districts, contribute to a single cause?”, “How can they make a big difference through small efforts?”, were the questions we wanted to be answered when we sat down to come up with our idea for MUNIJAN 2012.
MUNIJAN is a social initiative by the Mumbai University which took place on 2nd October 2012 i.e. on Gandhi Jayanti. The objective of MUNIJAN is to bring positive changes to the society at large by involving students of the University of Mumbai in a series of constructive socially responsible activities.
Keeping this objective in mind, we went about brain storming for our very own initiative. We wanted our idea to be SMART (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound). Being a Mumbai University initiative we decided that our idea should revolve around education and thus began our research. We found that at 400 million, India has the world’s largest child population and only half of the children in age group 6-14 go to school and a little over 1/3rd of these drop out of school citing the reason of high cost of education.
So we decided that our project would be to try and address this issue and thus was born The Green Page Project. This project involves all the students of the University, a waste paper recycler and manufacturer and several NGO’s. The idea is that the students of Mumbai University will collect waste paper from the vicinity of their college and then collect it centrally from where the manufacturer will take it to his manufacturing unit and convert it into recycled paper notebooks. He will be contracted on a Profit Sharing model where he will donate a large chunk of such manufactured books back to the University and the rest he will able sell in the open market to make up for his costs and also to make profits. The books with the University will then be distributed to partner NGO’s who will ensure that the books reach the underprivileged students who find it hard to finance their education.
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Everyone involved would get something - the students would get a the sense of achievement, a sense of doing something good for the society, the manufacturer will get his raw materials at almost zero cost, University will benefit from its wide reach and network of affiliated institutes, NGO’s will get the books at extremely low cost and the underprivileged children will get the notebooks for free. Thus, there is something to motivate and incentivise each and every stakeholder.
The USP of this idea is that it will involve each and every student and even a small contribution by all can lead to a large impact. Our estimates (which are highly conservative) show that we should be able to make at least 5 million such notebooks thus reaching out to 5 lakh needy students every year. Now this was the social impact but this project will also have a positive environmental impact. Every ton of paper recycled saves 17 trees, requires 50% lesser energy, saves 75% more water and produces 90% less waste and here our estimates put the recycled paper at 16000 tonnes per year. The environmental impact can only be guessed. Hence our tagline - ‘Recycle Paper. Write a Child’s Future’
We believe in this idea and the impact it can have on society and environment and hence it is our aim to carry out this idea in the future. Even after the event is over, our Team JBites hopes to carry forward this idea and produce a realistic outcome so as to benefit all stakeholders and achieve MUNIJAN’s objective of bringing a positive change to society!
- Rohit Whaval, Team JBites
(Rohit Whaval is a MMS-II student at JBIMS Mumbai)
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