ALLIKA : FROM WEED TO WEALTH
Allika meaning Weave in Telugu, is a social enterprise that converts an environmentally hazardous weed into a useful product, while simultaneously creating employment opportunities and empowering women.
Abdul Mujeeb, the founder, established Allika in 2014 to address multiple social and environmental issues with an innovative solution that is being translated into a successful business model. Allika provides sustainable livelihoods to women from low-income household through the production of beautifully hand-crafted lifestyle accessories made out of the weed – water hyacinth.
The journey started when Abdul, an electrical engineer started his own institute to develop skills and education levels of young students. While he was looking for science fair project ideas for his students, he first learnt about water hyacinths (a form of weed that grows on water bodies), and its multi-purpose potential to create various utility products and crafts. He further researched on the severe negative effects of water hyacinth when it contaminates the water bodies. This series of events led to the shaping of an inclusive business model by Abdul with multiple positive impacts in a single solution.
Started off with six women initially three years back, the social enterprise engaged in employing over 70 women from rural parts of Andhra Pradesh state. The employed women are provided with training on the art of handicrafts creation from water hyacinth to create a wide range of products, such as, handbags, baskets, dining mats, files, home decor and other utility products. The women engaged with Allika are not only empowered economically, but also socially.
Additionally, eliminating water contaminant weed from lakes helps in preventing the lake pollution, promotes a clean environment and reduces the risk of disease spread.
Abdul started out on a journey to put water hyacinth to a proper use and restore the water bodies at the same time. Water hyacinth is known to clog waterways and greatly diminish the water flow in a region. The weed is known to cause floods by blocking the exit points of the water bodies. It has a lifespan of around 45 days, after which it starts decaying and contaminates the water.
BVIC is overwhelmed by the success of Allika and strongly believes that Allika will scale up across the country creating wealth from waste, spreading its positive vibes all along.