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13 Dec 2019, Edition - 1613, Friday

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Coimbatore

How a mall manager is blending entertainment with awareness

Umaima Shafiq

Malls are popular for shopping, movies and food, but they can also reach out to visitors on issues relating to environment, sustainable living and wealth from waste. N. A. Sujatha, a mall manager, tells how her team taps the mall’s footfall in spreading awareness.

Environmentalists and sustainable living proponents can begin their work either at their home or offices.

N. A. Sujatha, the marketing manager of a popular mall in Coimbatore is doing just that.

She told The Covai Post, “Malls tend to have a huge footfall, so I realised that it was an excellent platform to hold social awareness programmes.”

Sujatha, who began the outreach programmes from 2015 in Brookefields, said, “The first one is Kovai Green League and its agenda was to increase the green cover of Coimbatore. We along with volunteers collaborated with Bosch Coimbatore, Rotary Club, WWF India and Suryan FM to execute this programme.”

“We decided to work with schools as they have huge campuses. So from 2015 we conducted workshops in schools about carbon footprint, sustainable living, wealth from waste and improving greenery. So far we have motivated around 3,000 students and 500 teachers about native trees.”

Sujatha’s volunteer group also has annual green campus awards for both government and private schools, in collaboration with the Coimbatore City Corporation.

Sujatha’s second outreach programme for women also began in 2015 with a women’s support group comprising nearly 80 members aged from 20-71 years, from different professions. “We have doctors, journalists, home makers, NGOs, entrepreneurs among others. We meet frequently to discuss core issues like rainwater harvesting, virtual water, using chemical free cleaners, home composting and making bio-enzymes at home,” she said.

Besides this, Sujatha’s group also does periodic sessions of Taichi, Zumba, astronomy and related subjects. A landmark event of Wonder Women’s Forum was the March 10 She-Sharing in which nearly 50 women participated to share life experiences at the mall as part of Women’s Day this year.

“Another event about sustainable living was categorised as Go Green, Go Blue and Go Brown. In Go Green we talked about plants, reducing carbon footprint, reusing and recycling. In Go Blue, we spoke about non-chemical cleaners and virtual water. The latter made us realise how many thousand litres of water was used to manufacture a pair of jeans, 200 grams of cheese, burgers and other such things. Go Brown talked about composting and e-waste or careless disposal of electronic items that could affect soil. Nearly 30-40 members attended this session,” said Sujatha.

The Wonder Women Forum has also conducted exhibitions within the mall highlighting these issues. Early this year, it exhibited Chinmaya Vidyalaya’s wealth from waste products made of coconut fibre.

“Another event was Uyir Neer where we collaborated with Siruthuli foundation, which brought a working model of rainwater harvesting and showcased it here. It taught the participants about water conservation and groundwater recharge,” said Sujatha.

“So all this has changed my lifestyle. I too use chemical free cleaners, make bio-enzymes and compost, segregate waste and shop and eat wisely. Hopefully our events similarly motivate this mall’s visitors towards eco-friendly social practices for a cleaner and greener city,” concludes Sujatha.

She can be contacted at 9551255583.

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