Dawoodi Bohra women across York Region create Happy Nest initiative to reduce plastic waste

By Aileen Zangouei
The Star

Women from the Dawoodi Bohra community — a group of Shia Muslims — throughout York Region and Toronto have launched a Happy Nest initiative dedicated to upcycling plastic bottles and containers. 

The Dawoodi Bohra women — some of whom reside in Richmond Hill, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Markham and Vaughan — are participating in this worldwide initiative to protect and enhance the environment. They will undertake projects and lifestyle changes that help to reduce the plastics that are polluting landfills and water.

His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the leader of the Dawoodi Bohras, recognized this objective and established the Happy Nests initiative. 

Members are first initiating change in their own homes by creating planters from unused bottles and containers, for example, then aiming to impact the community — and the country at large. 

Different methods to reduce plastic waste will be practised. At this time, the Dawoodi Bohra women are doing plastic upcycling, the act of taking something that is no longer in use and giving it a second life and a new use. 

“The idea is take everyday plastic items that would usually be thrown away, like plastic water bottles, soda bottles, shampoo bottles, and laundry detergent bottles, and using our unique creativity to transform them into other uses, such as planets, pen holders, mini organizers, and much more,” according to the Dawoodi Bohra’s media release. 

“The Dawoodi Bohra women. Living in and around York Region have wholeheartedly joined this revolution of rescuing and upcycling plastic and creating awareness amongst the community,” the media release reads. 

Amatullah Fatehi, a Dawoodi Bohra residing in the region and an active participant in the Happy Nest project, said this initiative “fosters the idea that we as a collective have a responsibility to our planet and we as individuals, inherently have the talent and capacity to drive change.” 

Fatehi added, “It’s just about sparking creativity. If each person contributed, we can bring a unique perspective to this age-old problem, which is not going to go away any time soon. In fact, if we don’t (do) the necessary steps, it will only become worse for our next generation.”

According to the media release, the Dawoodi Bohra woman in Toronto hand-stitched grocery bags out of cloth to distribute to families in the community to use as a replacement for plastic bags. 

CIG Garment Manufacturing Inc., based in Scarborough and owned by Arwa Lashkarwala, volunteered to stitch more than 400 cloth bags from the leftover material at the end of production. 

The Dawoodi Bohra community throughout York region, the Greater Toronto Area and worldwide are encouraging everyone to take part in Happy Nest and to reduce the consumption of plastic items and find as many alternatives as possible. 

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