One may doubt the title’s relevance with my experience at Swechha, but it is the best that could come out of me. Those were the worthy 7 weeks I spent at Swechha as an intern.
“Swechha started with ‘We for Yamuna’ Campaign in 2000 and it’s been 16 years Swechha is working in the field of Environment, Education and Enterprises,” that’s how Tanika, our Intern Coordinator introduced me to Swechha. And in those 7 weeks I concluded that all introduction and all the things that I heard about Swechha are true in its sense. The Swechha office, situated in the lanes of Khirki Extension, India’s first upcycled office is a sight and a true example in itself, the upcycled planters made from waste glass bottles, the chandelier made from cans, the artwork made up of waste metal, the office separations made up from bicycle rims, the whole terrace or I should call it the herb garden, with waste tyres, plastic bottles, plastic crates etc. used as planters. With huge plantation drives as “Monsoon Wooding”, summer schools for slum kids as “Pagdandi” and upcycling of waste as “Green The Map”, Swechha is playing its part in the society.
While introducing myself, I gave my introduction as a Masters student in Environmental Sciences and a proud botanist and thought of myself having some advantage over other interns while working in the “Airshed Development”, as this project requires a better knowledge of the environment and plants, but then Gaurav, our Project Manager and Swechha’s very own permaculture expert came into the scenario. While working under his guidance I came to know how less my practical knowledge is and how much I have to learn. It was a totally new experience for me working in the field, surveying the parks under intense heat of Delhi, observing the in-depth details of the life there.
Though I worked with Pagdandi kids for a very short period, it was a totally different experience with sinless smiles and frisky noises of the kids. This whole journey would be incomplete without mentioning my co-interns Parul, Prachi, Aditya, Parul, Ayesha, Mehak, Utkarsh, Srishti, Shaurya and Rishit. They all were of immense support and implausible entertainment with special mention to Aditya’s escape plans and Parul’s intense work schedule (satirically). This whole journey of 7 weeks would be of way more trouble for me without Jyoti Di and the person who is the backbone of Swechha, Praky Da, whose food and witty talks kept me on. With support and belief of Our Director, Deeksha, Our Project Managers Tanika and Gaurav and our Project Coordinator, Ashim, this journey became worth remembering and an experience worth sharing.
Wish I could have added more 7 to that title equation.
-Himanshu Arora (Intern at Swechha)