Change makers come in various forms to offer their best to the society they live in. Hyderabad teens and sisters, Pragya and Mridu Nagori, are spearheading one such campaign for environment and society to help us reduce our dependency on plastic, especially with the country-wide ban on single-use plastic. With this in mind, Pragya and her younger sister Mridu, studying in Classes XII and XI, respectively, have joined hands to battle the menace of plastic.
The duo teamed up with volunteers from Oorja to come up with alternatives to single-use plastic items like tooth brush, straw, pens, plastic bags, replacing them with bamboo and steel items.
That’s not all. The sisters have also been conducting informal road-schooling, recognising, buying and promoting regional artisans’ crafts that are eco-friendly, and in their little way, enriching the culture and heritage of the country.
Using a hobby to enlighten the world
“It started out as a hobby nine years ago. We began by making items such as paper pads and pencils. But with the continued encouragement from our parents and friends as well as our growing passion and concern for the environment, we took it large scale, making more products at a proper workshop. But yes, looking, back it appears we have come a long way, creating multiple products for daily use,” elaborates Pragya, adding that it usually takes about a month to prepare and ship those products.
Today, the ‘hobby’ led Pragya and Mridu to win the REX Karamveer Chakra Award at an event in IIT Delhi this month.
Finding their way ahead
The sisters easily balance out studies and their social enterprise. “Just as we take out time for social media, we take out time for this. Moreover, in addition to our parents and friends spreading the word for us, we promote our products on Facebook and other digital platforms. We also make residential trips as well as conduct street play (nukkad natak) band performances on the topic. Also, Mridu’s school also helps us,” adds Pragya.
That being said, even as India warms up to the idea of plastic ban and the use of bio-degradable alternatives, the response the sisters get in Hyderabad itself is not that encouraging. However, that has not added a gloom in their horizons. “Yes, the response from the city is low but we are trying to reach out to other cities. And after we received the Rex Karamveer Chakra, we has been getting a few more enquiries,” says Mridu.
When not studying or taking it upon themselves to repair the damage earlier generations have caused the earth, these talented Gen Z siblings indulge in music and sports. “Pragya plays the violin, drums and is into squash as well, whereas I am into playing flute and basketball for my school team,” concludes Mridu.