Rakshak Foundation in association with the directorate of correctional services, West Bengal, launched a sustained campaign with constant drive to create global awareness and outreach at ICCR, Kolkata, recently. For a wide array of quality jute products, diligently crafted by inmates, this eco-friendly versatile golden fibre takes it to the prominent position it truly deserves as an integral everyday material.

Arun Kumar Gupta, IPS, DG, IGP, correctional services, West Bengal, Padma Shri Usha Uthup, singer, Wasim Kapoor, painter, Ushoshi Sengupta, former Miss India and Shuchandra Vaaniya, actress, Bishop Raju, Retd Brigadier Balbir Singh along with dignitaries were present to grace the occasion.

The products were made under the theme “Jute Story Beyond bars” and announced popularisation and propagation through different national and international platforms. The foundation registered in 2014 has been involved in social welfare for more than last two decades. It is all about protecting the interests of the underprivileged.

They not only organises its own activities and events but also extends support to other welfare societies. Their initiatives are meant for all strata of the society, irrespective of caste and creed, age and religion. The main thrust of their activities has been the health and welfare of the physically challenged, underprivileged women, children and the elderly. This was an official embarkation of the initiative under the guidance of Chaitali Das, managing trustee, Rakshak Foundation and the Charter President of the Rotary Club of Calcutta Millennium.

The initiative was novel and unique. It provides an innovative platform for the inmates in West Bengal by co-ordinated skill development effort in the domain of artisanal manufacture of jute products. This venture also helps them to empower their lives.

This will rekindle and enhance the usage by emphasising its inherent sustainability and customised products for corporate gifting. Franchises for these exotic products are also sought at re-popularising jute in the global arena and is actively seeking co-operation and support from overseas organisations and businesses.

Das volunteered to provide vocational training and skill development amongst the inmates at correctional homes such that the population within the tall wall of confinement will get to transform their lives and gain employable skills which shall help them live with dignity.

The earnings they are able to muster would help the inmates and also their families. She focused on invoking and instilling creativity amongst the inmates through the initiatives of leather products training at the women’s correctional home, apparel designing at the central correctional home and jute products creation at the Dum Dum correctional home.

She has fostered social participation in a variety of activities in the domains of health and wellness and protection of the environment, by various means, including, but not limited to, organising yoga camps, homeopathy clinics, planting of trees, instilling principles of hygiene and cleanliness.

As a means to raise public awareness of important social issues, she has designed and developed activity and involvement programmes for the advocacy of crucial concerns in the areas of gender equality, ecological conservation, women empowerment, etc, through interactive debates and discussions, rallies and events.

The products are scheduled to feature in a three-day exhibition in Sri Lanka during the SAARC meeting in September. The organisers are also planning to launch an online platform for the common people interested in buying the products.