HAPACOOP- Hand paper making co-operative has been our successful consultancy project to setup a handmade papermaking unit. It involves motivating, training, information dissemination, technical as well as marketing assistance. The intent of the project is to develop a vocation for distinctively enabled individuals to make an honest living. For working of such a project, we laid down not only its material parameters but also its moral and ethical parameters for its guided governance. As part of forming mandate for HAPACOOP, we found it highly demeaning to gain leverage from someone’s disabilities even for their benefit. So we avoided marketing these products as made by disabled individuals. Such conventional tact of marketing and commerce is contradictory to the noble intent of upliftment. Often their disability is looked at as the products U.S.P, but we are convinced that it is an act of moral degradation.
We have trained them, worked with them and observed them perform the art of handmade papermaking. As per our experience know-how and belief we firmly recommend that the quality of handmade paper made by them is way superior to the paper made by ‘normal’ individuals. This uniqueness/distinctness comes from what is referred to as their ‘disability’. Their limitation gives them the patience and placidity required for this meditative activity of Handmade Papermaking. This project encouraged us to instill confidence and dignity in them, for we see it as our responsibility to suggest them a way on which they would tread with pride.
There are therapeutic advantages associated to this activity as well. As this not our area of expertise, we cannot mention the specifics; However due to our interest in the overall subject, we would like to work with a team of teachers who would be interested in evaluating the therapeutic implications.