At college of sericulture, even trash finds new lease of life

The College of Sericulture at Kurubur not only teaches students about silkworms, cocoons and silk, but also how to convert waste cocoons into works of art.

The training programme, which was started in 2009 with the intention of using cocoons after the extraction of raw silk is complete, has given hundreds of youngsters, dropouts, insolvents and even the physically challenged, the opportunity of a new vocation and the chance of a livelihood.

The programme has now developed into a six-month training course for students of the College, while free courses are open to the economically backward classes, women’s self-help groups and impoverished people. The training unit, which was opened with a revolving fund of Rs 75,000, now manages businesses worth lakhs of rupees.

Works of art are also prepared using waste from the Agriculture, Horticulture and Sericulture Departments. Articles including flower vases and bouquets, buntings, garlands and artificial plants to decorate and beautify homes, stages and wedding halls are all prepared at the training unit. The trainees prepare hundreds of varieties of artificial flowers.

Vijayendra, a professor at the Collegem credited the Dean, Dr Govindan, with being the inspiration for the programme and explained that Govindan had sought a way to reuse items destined for the trash pile.
“Pieces of cocoons that are cut while preparing such decorative items are collected to use them in some productive way,” he said and explained that students in the programme even travel to an annnual inter-state art exhibition in New Delhi to show off their creations.

“The students also participate at the agricultural fest at the University of Agriculture. Tribal people from Assam visit the College to receive training and even guidance in preparing decorative items,” he said. “The Aadhar Society of Chintamani, the APD Society from Kamatampalli of Srinivaspur taluk in Kolar district, and even members of the Swabhimani Angavikalara Sangha of Kolar have enrolled for training at our centre.”
Vijayendra adds that the College also looks for a suitable market for the artefacts prepared by the trainees.

“The items prepared at the College training unit are used for decoration at all programmes organised by the Central Silk Board, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Sericulture and other government departments,” he said, with pride.

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