With limited Wi-Fi and even more limited technical skills, this post is just a short prelude to what I will try to make an interesting insight into the metaphorical and physical journey we here at WBC are embarking upon with the WBC India Project.
The past week has been spent in India, heading to West Bengal where WBC’s ‘Bags For Life’ are produced. A few days en-route were spent acclimatising in Jaipur, where the 45 degree heat is very dry and actually quite pleasant. Upon arrival on the other side of the sub-continent in Kolkata, it’s starkly evident from the intense humidity why this part of India is the fertile heartland of Jute production.
Filled with good intentions, no time was wasted in attempting to action our goal here at WBC to find a way to support the local community where the bulk of our bags are produced. Baduria is deep in the West Bengal countryside, where the ‘good’ roads give way to ‘not such good’ roads, and where journeys nearly always end up a little longer than expected. Expertly driven by our generous hosts, the journey offered an insight into the communities that make their home along the jute and paddy fields that line the route from the city of Kolkata towards the Bangladesh border.
The truth is, we have been working on this project for the past 18 months. None of us here at WBC are experienced in NGO’s, not for profit, charitable or foundation projects, however as a team we are experts when it comes to opportunity, drive, integrity and commitment. Those skills, along with those of our very good friends and business partners at Eco Jute, have resulted in a plan to ‘do good’ and a brand new building to ‘do good’ in – located in the rural community of Baduria where the 150,000 populous can smell the scent of ‘Booming’ India.
As follows tradition, we were here to inaugurate the building by showing respect to the Gods and the Universe with a Hindu Puja that will rid the space of any bad energy and fill it will a pervasive positive energy. Followed by the planting of coconut palms, it was a moving ceremony and definitely underlined the seriousness of what we are trying to achieve. Meeting the students who have been identified by the Panchayat, (self-governing community council) as those in greatest need of support, made it all the more serious.
With the building pretty much complete, save for a dining facility and washrooms, the project will go live on June 2nd with the training of seven widowed women from the local community. They will be taught basic stitching skills that will enable them to earn enough to be able to support their children with an education.
This is the start of us as a business trying to find a balance between commerce and community. I already know we won’t change the world but we’ll ensure that we will find a balance that we are proud of. I will continue to post about the project, with blogs and videos. We’d love it if you signed up to our blog to follow where the project leads. It’s not just about us and what we’re doing, as part of our WBC ‘Community’ this project directly affects you and the bags you buy so your feedback, is always appreciated.
Read more about India Bags for life:
- Why WBC will never supply Bags for Life at unsustainable prices
- Passage from India: The pitfalls of container shipping from Kolkata
- How to choose the right Bags for Life service for your business