Whenever we visit a temple or a holy lake, we are often overwhelmed by the waste and filth it has. When discussing this with a dear friend who also happens to be an environmentalist, I came to know about the work of Akash Singh, Ashoka Young Changemaker who hails from a small village, Jewar in UP. He has shifted to Gurgaon after class 10, for his further studies (Diploma) where he has worked on several projects and participated in competitions.
“Since I was in Class 10, I wanted to connect with like-minded people who wanted to change the world, and have a positive impact. I was glad when I found my purpose – to not let any waste generated by temples in India reach rivers and pollute the water by upcycling it into something useful,” says Akash.
When he was pursuing his Diploma in Engineering from Government Polytechnic College in Noida. He used to chat and hangout out near the lake along with his friends, which became their adda. There was a temple in its vicinity, soon they found that waste (flowers, incense sticks, coconut husks) from the temple used to make its way to the same beautiful lake and eventually made it filthy. He got disheartened by that and decided that something needs to be done to solve the problem. So Akash went around temples in Delhi and requested them to dispose of their waste more sustainably. Despite championing for a good cause, he was dismissed as a nasthik(Atheist). Thus he realized that the incense stick industry is very huge in India and have started Energinee Innovations in the year 2018.
He started placing bins in temples in and around Delhi and collected waste to make incense sticks out of them. He got incubation support from Atal Incubation Centre in BIMTECH, Greater Noida and also got a suggestion to work with prisoners. And thus he has visited Noida district jail, trained for 22 jail inmates for 12 days. Few of them were released with bail and came back to take up the job with their other friends.
On providing employment to the prisoners, Akash says “During my interaction with the inmates, I found that most of them were under trials and were called criminals even though they were awaiting the judgment. They didn’t land any employment opportunities after leaving prison. So, If they can work and develop skills while in prison, the chances of getting employed later would be better. This was the idea behind involving them.”
The organization has provided employment to around 30 prisoners so far ensuring their financial stability. Today they are making handicraft products, statues, sculptures, even paint and pack them. They have also raised the first round of angel investment from a German startup.
Also, Akash wishes to replicate his work in all the temples across the country while having plans to provide employment for women by creating packaging material from jute which is sustainable.
Energinee Innovations offers a wide range of products from incense sticks to idols of Ganesha and sleeping Buddha. If you are looking for some eco-friendly products to adorn your home with, Energinee is the place you definitely need to pay a visit to!