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Jayanti Premkumar in Mumbai trains the underprivileged in upcycling products

“We need to change our mindset about what constitutes waste. My main aim is to create awareness and train people to upcycle materials”

Flowers from pistachio shells, jewellery boxes from coconut shells, candle stands made from recycled sugarcane stalks and sturdy newspaper stands created from wedding invitation cards—these are all part of Mumbai-based Jayanti Premkumar’s innovative and aesthetic portfolio. In fact, her living room is a veritable treasure trove for upcycled products, including an attractive bright red flower, which turns out to be a plastic bottle cleverly crafted to look like a real flower. The 54 year-old has also been sharing her artistic skills with others through YWCA’s established communities and workshops for the underprivileged. This self-taught artist’s upcycling lessons have benefitted many single mothers, women undertrials, girls rescued from human trafficking and street children, who sell upcycled products to earn a livelihood.

—Anisha Samuel

Photo courtesy: Jayanti Premkumar
Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
October 2018