Chandigarh, October 3
Though the polythene ban in the city has invited public ire, slum children of Nada village have a reason to smile. For they have been making paper and jute bags, the demand for which has suddenly shot up.

The children include beggars who used to beg in the stretches of Sector 17 and polish shoes. They were persuaded to leave begging and are now being taught to read and write and live a life of dignity by a non-profit organisation, Choti Si Asha.

They are also trained in making paper bags, folders, pen stand, candles, etc. The ban on polythene carry bags has bought cheer to them, as they are now looking forward to yield profits.

“The ban has given hope to these children as they come from far-off places to make paper and jute carry bags. The bags, which we used to sell with great difficulty, are now drawing a large number of customers. We are also expecting good prices unlike earlier when we had to comprise on it,” said Baljeet Kaur, the caretaker of the children.

“We have got two big orders for paper bags in just one day from Subhiksha and Dewsun. Others have asked for samples,” she said.

Though children are not aware of the ban, they are happy as they have a lot of work to do and earn money now.

“I made 20 bags today. I feel good coming here, as they give us food to eat and we spend a better time here,” Anikey, one of the children.

However, it was a great struggle in the beginning for the members of the NGO to convince these children to join them but they later started enjoying the teachings sessions.

“It is not so easy to dissuade beggars and expect them to study or get some kind of training. We have to reach their mental level to make them understand things and convince them. But now they are happy being associated with us and do not want to leave,” she said.

Source: Himani Chandel Tribune News Service