One of the winners of the grant competition for SMEs in Baikal region «Green Steps» was the social project «Thread» («Nitochka»). The idea of this project is to expand the infrastructure for receiving unnecessary clothes and other things in Ulan-Ude. In January this year, the Foundation transferred 330 000 rubles for its implementation. Evgenia Alekseeva, the project manager and inspirer, answered our questions and shared in detail what tasks «Nitochka» solves in the region.
Is there any personal story behind the project or a response to a public request?
I considered this idea for a long time, while I was on maternity leave. In my own example, I realized that as children grow up, a lot of clothes remaon, and it was not clear how it could be disposed of in a civilized manner. At the same time, I often go to the village to visit my parents and see that not all locals can regularly buy their children’s clothes. It turns out that, on the one hand, there are mothers who want to get rid of things of their grown children, and on the other hand, there is a problem that these clothes can solve.
I took a chance and created the project, because I was sure that I would be able to organize such an important and kind cycle of clothes.
Tell us where and how the collected clothes are transferred. Who are the beneficiaries?
We have a warehouse for sorting and humanitarian aid. 2 times a week we give out clothes to those who contact us directly. Basically, these are mothers of many children, persons with disabilities and elder people, that is everyone who especially needs support. But we have an important condition – it is necessary to show a document confirming the social status of a person, otherwise, we can’t understand whether he or she really needs help or not. But, as a rule, we never refuse those who apply to us.
We are constantly cooperating with the Chance Foundation, with the city sobering-up center, with the Republican Narcological Center, animal shelters, centers for helping children left without parental care, and several other organisations. We also send clothes to areas, villages where people are in urgent need, through TOSes (territorial public administrations) and district public organisations.
We are creating a place to go for support that the city needs to know about.
We would like to know more about animal shelters. How did you meet each other? How does the cooperation work?
The first encounter with the animal shelter came through volunteers, they were the first to contact us. We have been working with three shelters for almost a year, we have donated and continue to donate things that serve as bedding. During this time, only one of the shelters refused from help, the rest, on the contrary, increase the territory and accept animals, for example, there are more than 1 000 animals in the shelter «Vozrozhdenie» in the Tarbagatai district. We prepare think blankets, jackets, etc. from them and arrange pickup ourselves.
What kind of response does your activity receive among the local population? Can you identify the age category of people who donate clothes most often?
For all the time we have been working, we have never used advertising, people themselves talk about us. We usually work with mothers, as children quickly outgrow their clothes, and we are often approached by people who are planning to move.
Since the clothes collection service works well, people are asking us to set up our container in one place or another. They are ready share, instead of taking good things to the trash. We see a conscious approach.
Where so you see the opportunities for the development of your project?
I see an increasing amount of donations and a lot of illiquid clothing donations, so I am constantly thinking about what is next, looking for solutions to start recycling things and reduce the amount of clothes in the landfill.
One of the main steps towards this goal is processing into cleaning rags. I want to build a step-by-step processing of clothes to a whole line. But setting up such process costs a lot, it requires to build up the whole infrastructure. So far, this is only a plan, which, I hope, will come true soon.
We will continue to tell you about the progress of this social project. If you have any questions for Evgenia and the project, please write to us at email@example.com – we will pass them the project team and try to answer them in the next news!
Since 2021, Lake Baikal Foundation launched a grant competition for SMEs in the Baikal region «Green Steps». The purpose of the competition is to contribute to the dissemination of sustainable environmental practices and the introduction of green technologies among entrepreneurs in the region, as well as to implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda in the Irkutsk region and the Republic of Buryatia. The project is being implemented with the support of Asian-Pacific Bank.