Using fabric they source from tailors
Using fabric they source from tailors, the group aims to stitch quilts, table cloths and doormats as they do their small bit for the environment. Image Credit: Geetha Nayak

We always wanted to do a small contribution to the environment through small changes in our daily life. For example, saying no to plastic bags, carrying reusable bags for grocery shopping and encouraging near and dear ones by gifting them eco-friendly reusable bags.

We are a group of women from Ruwais, a town around 250 kilometres from Abu Dhabi in the western region. Ruwais is home to many of the oil and gas companies.

We meet regularly to discuss our contributions towards conserving the environment, popularise re-use of materials, and recycle. During our discussions, we always find best ways to reuse the things that we usually throw away.

While talking to a friend in Abu Dhabi with similar interests, we came to know that she along with her friends spend their free time in making bags from surplus clothing from the tailor. We found this idea very impressive and wanted to implement the same here in Ruwais. Being away from the city, it was a difficult option to get extra scrap clothing from the tailors.

Being a small town, Ruwais has only two tailoring shops to cater to the local demand. We approached the tailors here and came to understand that they were sending the scrap cloths to landfills and were more than happy to give the fabric to us when we explained our initiative to them.

During the first week, we brought around five kilograms of fabric from the local tailor. Immediately, we gathered to make a plan about how to put the scraps to best use and in the next few days, we decided to stitch small pieces of cloth together and prepared small bags as samples.

Some of the women in the group were good at stitching and rest supported them. In the subsequent gatherings, we made pillows covers, pillowcases and a few bags, too.

As all of us are homemakers, we were unable to meet regularly in the morning hours due to commitments. Later we decided to take the fabric home and stitch the bags during our free time. Within a month, we were able to stitch around 30 bags.

We were surprised and happy to see small pieces of clothes turned into beautiful customised bags.

Through this team effort, it not only created a bond between our group but also gave us the satisfaction of knowing that we have done something for the environment and used material that would further add to the landfills.

We also got an opportunity to display our bags at an art exhibition. Attendees received our initiative well and greatly appreciated our efforts. I hope it inspires others to take steps towards a better future.

When we showed the pictures of the bags to the tailors, they were very happy and soon, they promised us all the scrap cloth they produced.

Additionally, one of our friends arranged for a big quantity of fabric from her relative, who owns a shop in Dubai.

Using these, we aim to fulfil our plans to stitch quilts, table cloths and doormats from the scrap fabric. We would like to donate these things to local camps and the people we think are really in need of these items.

We are also planning to teach the children during their summer vacation to contribute to the environment and create awareness to conserve and produce less waste by ways of reusing the things around us.

We want to inspire others too for this great cause and we would like to spread our joy to other people. Our efforts also give us an opportunity to meet one another, do our bit for the environment and give back to society.

If each one of us adopts such measures, which requires only a little time and effort, we can surely make an impact in reducing global warming. Hope this small step taken by us inspires others to do the same.

The reader is based in Abu Dhabi. Send us your videos and pictures at readers@gulfnews.