NIRMALYA TRANSFORMATION PROJECT OF VASCO…
AN ‘I’DEA THAT DROPPED THE ‘I’ TO BECOME ‘WE’…
The Nirmalya Collection project began as an intention a month prior to the Ganesh festival with a vision of making a holistic approach to an ecofriendly Ganesh Chaturthi a reality. Roopa Bandekar of Earthworm Ecostore introduced 100% ecofriendly Clay Ganesh idols in Goa for the first time that were painted with natural colours like multani mitti, turmeric and kumkum from Eco-exist Pune and conceptualized the NIRMALYA TRANSFORMATION PROJECT for the Port Town of Vasco.
Although collection of Nirmalya is not in itself new to Goa, but it was felt that there existed great gap between the devotees and the supposed ‘few’ who were concerned about the environmental damage caused during the immersion of nirmalya (such as garlands, flowers, coconuts, plastic and thermacole. The Germ of Vasco ‘I’dea was to ALWAYS keep the in mind the religious sentiments of the people AND include them in the process of change. The method: to make it a people’s movement; to do away with bins at immersion sites and replace them with the welcoming presence of enthusiastic volunteers.
When this ‘I’dea was first sounded off to Mrs. Lalita Joshi, a environmental catalyst and Director of BBA Dept of MES college Zuarinagar, it was accepted with such great enthusiasm that the ‘I’ of that idea quickly dropped and turned into WE….everybody who gave a ear to the idea absorbed it as their own. MES college Team Mr. Kevin Dsilva and Ms Pallavi Shirodkar took on the task of composting the collected nirmalya;
Mr. Shekhar Khadapkar, Chairperson MMC willingly supported us with funding for promotional material and workers at immerison sites.
Our enthused team consisted of Daji Salkar, Namdeo Chopdekar of Bharat Swabhiman , Jayant Jadhav of Vinayak Kala Kendra, Alka Damle, Neelima Parulekar, Renu Rao, Dinesh Heda, Amit Tapadia, Amit Bandekar and Charuta Mehta of Rotary Club, Roshan Gunjal, Shammi Salkar and J C Shalaka and many many more volunteers
WHAT WE DID:
We created posters and Flexes “ Ganpati Bappa Morya, Nirmalyacha roop badluya’ in marathi and Ganpati Bappa Morya, lets Transform our Nirmalya’ in English. And put them up a week before the Festival at Key sites in Vasco, shops, temples, market areas, bagayatdar, at points of traffic movement and relevant shopping sites. The message was spread personally from Temple gurujis, Sarvajanik mandals, house-to-house visits, through institutions, organizations, Banks, offices and articles in local publication Vasco Watch.
Pandals were erected keeping in mind high visibility and accessibility to all at the immersion sites of Khariwado, Vaddem Lake, two at Baina beach and one site at Chicalim with the Panchayat.
Two volunteers at each site along with MMC workers collected nirmalya from the people and most sites segregated at SOURCE from 8:30 p.m. to 2.30 a.m. in shifts or some of them were present throughout the time. The MMC vehicle took the Nirmalya to MES college the next morning for final segregation and composting.
WHAT MADE THIS CAMPAIGN UNIQUE!
· This WAS A PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN and did not leave the sense of responsibility in the hands on the Government body or a single “NGO”/ organization.
· We consciously kept away from the ‘people versus environment’ approach.
· All Promotional material was printed in two languages Marathi and English languages keeping in mind its target audience.
· The campaign reached from household to household at a personal level.
· The campaign was carried out with minimum costs with a few baskets and enthusiastic volunteers. This helped us not only to understand how many people willingly gave their nirmalya, how many needed to be requested and what were the reservations of the unwilling but also to make recordings for the future.
· Different sites have different volumes of nirmalya collection on different days; we learnt that in some places 10 bags are not enough at all and in some areas a few suffice. It gave us information to plan for the future.
· The effort of being present and receiving the the Nirmalya at immersion sites was a trust building exercise which propelled more people to give
· Dinner can be Prasad! Prasad IS dinner!… the sharing of Prasad between the devotees and the volunteers and the quantities consumed by each volunteer, itself suggests that this was a project that sent great vibrations back to the earth!
And as Daji put it “Now my whole car smells of Nirmalya.” makes this project one of its kind!
IT WAS AN OVERWHELMING SUCCESS!
Most of our volunteers despite having their own household celebrations gave time, effort and enthusiasm to this project proving that where there is a will there the time.
All of us felt that much of the general public were concerned and ready for solutions.
Many devotees who had reservations were reassured by our presence and positive approach.
Our collections were almost 60% successful at all our locations.
Our immersion sites showed visible less damage the next morning.
We plan to continue the same awareness campaign with all the learnings of this one for the next years to come. And thank Each and every person who handed their sacred Nirmalya to us thus became a part of “We” project.