Syahi Pens made out of Upcycled Paper

Project Syahi is an initiative by students of Enactus – Kirori Mal College, Delhi that seeks to introduce a sustainable alternative to plastic pens. They create pen out of upcycled paper with seeds attached at the rear end. So, these pens not only help the environment while they are being used but also after that. 

Enactus Kirori Mal College

The term “sustainable development” has been taught to us since we enrolled in school. We, as students, learn the definition for exams, understand the concept for debates, and try to incorporate small parts of it into our daily routines. Who would’ve thought that students could do more than that? That students could facilitate initiatives that are not only environmentally-friendly and sustainable but are run by communities that are socio-economically marginalized?

The international non-profit organizationEnactus is precisely the organization that tackles all these questions at once. Enactus KMC, the Enactus chapter at Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, aspires to achieve change in society through entrepreneurial action & sustainable business solutions. Since its inception in 2016, the team of students has constantly worked to impact more lives every day.

At Enactus KMC, the members not only gain knowledge and  experience that is entrepreneurial, but socially conscious as well. Enactus KMC bears under its banner three projects namely –  Project Dor, which works with migrant women to revive the dying art of tie-and-dye; Project Jan Bhoomi, which works with farmers, nurseries, and schools to promote organic farming; and their most recently launched initiative and Project Syahi, the most recent initiative, which makes paper pens.

The Problem:

As per an estimate, USA throws away 1.6 billion pens a year. In India alone, more than 1.65 crore pens are discarded every month. The menace caused by use of Single use plastic pens is hard to notice in heap of bottles & bags.

However, when it comes to damaging the environment, they are as bad as plastic bags and bottles. Further during recycling, it is also difficult to segregate metallic nip, ink, and plastic body so the recycling.

The Solution: Project Syahi

On 19th September 2019, Enactus KMC took a step towards solving the ever-growing problem of single-use plastic pens by launching Project Syahi. Syahi“, meaning “ink” in Hindi, is a unique project that renders a business having a crucial impact.

Project Syahi creates pens made out of upcycled paper (a waste paper that would have otherwise gone to the dustbin). Apart from this, the pens also have seeds attached at their rear end, which can be planted after the pen has been used. So, these pens not only help the environment while they are being used but also after that. 

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This is a unique project which not only solves the problem of plastic waste but also promotes SDG Goal 5 – Gender Equality. Project Syahi strives to promote the underprivileged community of Women. These Syahi pens are handcrafted by our skilled beneficiaries, a community of women residing in Tilak Nagar, New Delhi. 

Enclosed by chains of patriarchy and burdened with poverty, these women were tied down by the shackles of rigid societal norms. After being a part of Syahi, these women’s lives have been transformed into better and now they have a stable source of income.

As the community women say, “Syahi ek umeed ki kiran hai”. (Syahi has become a ray of hope in their lives). It has proved to be a source of empowerment for them. In a society dominated by patriarchal ideas, having financial freedom as a woman is important.

To become socially independent in terms of money, we need to ensure that there should be no reliance on the male members of the family for income. Under this project, beneficiaries are also learning the basics of how to be an entrepreneur. From marketing to procurement, this team of women is being trained to eventually run the project by themselves. 

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Pens have become a requisite part of an individual’s everyday life.  These Syahi pens have completely become the key player in the market with huge potential. Our pens create triple the impact, by not just reusing waste paper and replacing plastic but also by being fully customizable. It provides the customers a diverse range of designs; be it floral, abstract, fandom, or any company logos to be a part of brand merchandise, these pens can do it all.

Being a utility product, its market lies in both B2B and B2C channels. With such distinctive and unique selling points, Project Syahi has collaborated with many corporations like IBM and reputed hospitals like AIIMS and CNBC. Apart from this, Syahi has its reach in various schools, universities, and stationery stores across India. 

Even after the coronavirus outbreak, the twin threats to lives and livelihoods, the reach of Syahi pens is unstoppable even amidst this pandemic.

This project has created a wide impact on society. Firstly by replacing a huge amount of plastic with each batch of paper pens, led to ultimately combating the problem of plastic. It also saves water, as well as prevents a significant amount of carbon emission. Secondly, by being the facilitators, who enable women to realize their potential and make something that truly belongs to them. 

25 years ago, people could be excused for not doing much to eradicate pollution, poverty, and gender inequalities but today we have no excuses. The blaming and waiting days are over. We need to act. Let’s support Syahi to create a better and sustainable world.

Syahi writes the new chapters of how women become entrepreneurs, and the environment turning into a sustainable one, hence with Syahi,” Scribble, Sow, Save”.

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