GIMED: Ecological stones for indoor decoration in Palestine, a green solution tackling waste problem
Her name is Rawan Rajab and she is 22 years old. This young entrepreneur is based in the city of Tulkarm, where she is completing her studies at the university. Full of ideas and creative thinking, she has always been dreaming of being influential and making something to create positive impact. This desire is slowly becoming true thanks to the ‘Blue Stone’ initiative, a project that makes ecological stones for indoor decoration by recycling wasted materials.
“At the beginning of 2020, I joined many trainings and I worked hard to be environmentally friendly”, says Rawan. Doubtlessly, one of these trainings she is referring to is the first capacity-building workshop launched by Leaders International, the Palestinian partner of GIMED’s project. But how GIMED helped her to materialize her very early-stage idea? First step, she had to come up with a transforming idea to have an impact and social value, being also a source of income. During the quarantine period, this young woman had plenty of time to turn her ideas into projects on the ground. That’s exactly how ‘Blue Stone’ was born.
Ecological stones for indoor decoration in various shapes and colours, this is the memo of the project. “GIMED entailed many vital steps that made us reach the level we are today”, states Rawan. In a nutshell, the project turns a group of wasted materials such as glass, sawdust and paper into stones. After almost a year of experiments and plans, she finally got special tools and materials for the project, which started in mid-May 2021. From this date on, she has started the production of pieces, feeling proud of the success and transformation of the project.
“After introducing the project to my community, I started promoting the idea of bringing waste from other neighbouring communities for recycling”, she says. Rawan started to stimulate children for collecting glass waste in exchange of some money. When joining GIMED’s trainings, her idea went deeper because it helped Rawan to regard the development of additional new ideas. This Palestinian entrepreneur learned and gained new knowledge that applied during the implementation.
The economic situation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had an important impact on Rawan’s project. “I need important materials in the project, which are rather expensive and hard to reach”, she says. Nevertheless, Rawan believes that her most valuable accomplishment is spreading awareness to children in his community by encouraging sustainability through recycling waste. “If we look at the problems in the world from a different perspective, as opportunities, and find solutions, we will find really great ideas”, she says.
Capacity-building workshops to make green ideas successful
‘Blue Stone’ is one of the 23 green solutions selected to receive training and turn their ideas into successful green start-ups. After a highly selective evaluation process headed by Leaders International, innovators have received the necessary training to grow their ideas and turn them into profitable businesses.
The first capacity-building workshop took place at the end of March with different sessions. The training was conducted through The Switchers.org platform, developed by the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Production and Consumption (SCP/RAC), the Lead Beneficiary of GIMED.
In the context of the EU-funded ENI CBC MED Programme, Leaders International will build the capacities of these selected innovators through a 10-month program, supporting them to access to financing and networking opportunities and helping them to develop their green business model and bring their innovation to Mediterranean markets.