Dr. Shambavi Rajagopal and her buddies’ selfless service to maintain dignity in charity

July 26, 2019

On a random visit to my tailor, in 2015, I saw him carry two garbage bags full of scrap that would be discarded in landfills, thereby adding to the current sorry state of the environment. As someone who conscientiously lives sustainably I knew brand new scrap could be put to good use but I also knew that I would not be able to pull this off on my own. Hence ‘Save Scrap & Sew’ (SSS) was born as a desperate measure to save landfills while being of service to those in need. I am Dr. Shambavi Rajagopal and along with my buddies we have ‘stitched’ together ‘Save Scrap & Sew’ on the fundamental principles of sustainability and service.

It was on 30th September 2015 that I opened my apartment and invited like-minded people to join me for 2 hours every week so that we could salvage scrap and make something unique and useful. Over the years some of our buddies have moved cities or countries and joined hands with friends, neighbours and acquaintances to work towards the mission of ‘Save Scrap & Sew’. Today we have over 170 buddies working in groups based out of the UAE and India. A regular SSS meeting involves sorting through kilos of scrap, ironing, cutting panels and finally stitching them together. In less than four years since our first meeting, we have sewn more than 1700 bed sheets, 3700 bags and 4000 pillows out of pieces of scrap and ensured it has reached people who truly need it.


While I can claim credit for starting SSS; its success and sustenance I attribute to our buddies. Our buddies are ordinary people caught in the rat race of life however they show up week after week to dedicate few hours of their time to create something useful for someone they might never meet. When our sheets provide warmth to residents of an old age home or a bag is used by a young girl who could not afford a new one – we are content knowing that we touched someone’s life and changed it for better.

A cherished memory for each one of us at SSS was when our support pillows found their way to a rehabilitation centre called ‘Support’ that worked towards rescuing street children. I love to believe that it was serendipity that our support pillows were destined to provide comfort to small children who got a raw deal in life. At SSS we work with piles and piles of scrap every week, most of us are not experts at sewing and our creations are nowhere near perfect. But we chase efficiency and invest our love and time to stitch together unique and useful products because collectively, we believe there must be dignity in receiving charity. While we cannot save all the scrap in the world, we can ensure that our best legacy for future generations is a far more inhabitable planet.

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