Meet This 21-YO Who Is Empowering Prisoners By Recycling Temple Waste Into Sculptures : Incubated at AIC-BIMTECH

Motivation is a crucial part of everything we do. And most of the time, it comes when we least expect it. Just like that, when a young entrepreneur, Akash Singh, witnessed the deplorable state of a neighboring lake, he was moved to take action for good.

This 21-year-old, who grew up in a village near Jewar in Uttar Pradesh, collects temple garbage and uses it to create exquisite artifacts with the aid of prison inmates. This is how Akash not only reduced the quantity of temple waste dumped in the lake but also created work opportunities for jail inmates.

Talking to Life Beyond Numbers, Akash shared how he has been striving to liberate inmates behind bars by collecting and recycling temple waste into sculptures.

‚ÄúI was an ordinary student who was shunned from¬†studying, but my first science project, which I completed in 9th grade, showed to be a defining moment. My very first science project was chosen for the CBSE science fair. It earned me several awards, which encouraged me to continue with my discoveries. That same day, I recognized that it is my inventions that bring me fame and recognition. Since then, I‚Äôve been working on projects, organizing science fairs in my region, and experimenting with innovations. Sometimes in college, I was more active in the Electrical and Mechanical departments.¬†He was always eager to experiment and explore,‚Ä̬†Akash said.

He created a self-watering sprinkler, a self-powered walking stick, and other items.

He added, ‚ÄúThe incubation center helped him contact the GB Nagar District Jail, where he began a 15-day trial alongside the other 22 convicts.¬†We started by collecting waste from 152 temples in the Delhi/NCR area. We discovered our collaborator in the Noida Jail¬†when we taught and boarded 35 inmates to create idols.‚ÄĚ

His first goal was to recycle temple waste in some way so that water contamination could be reduced. He later discovered that a mixture of coconut husk and ash generated a robust binder that could be shaped and molded into sculptures after conducting research. As a result, he devised the concept of generating idols and small artwork from the mixture.

‚ÄúOur Incubation Unit directed us to deal with convicts in jail. We were able not only to recycling temple waste but also offer convicts a better future after they were released on bail. This startup has given them a means of subsisting and making a living.¬†Since then, we‚Äôve been assisting the convicts by training them to sculpt statues and compensating them for their efforts,‚ÄĚ he said.¬†

He has received numerous honors at various events. For his projects, he has received recognition from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Chief Minister of Haryana. He has also won the Greater Noida Authority’s Young Entrepreneur Award and got the MSME Udyam award. Akash was chosen for the inaugural global edition of Ashoka Young Changemaker from India and is presently incubating at the Atal Incubation Center BIMTECH.

So far, Akash Singh has taught 46 prisoners how to sculpt 60 various types of statues. Outside the prison walls, his company also assists in the rehab of convicts. By voicing support for prisoners, they help them find jobs with other non-governmental organizations.

Youngsters like Akash Singh are driving society forward by assuring a clean environment and ensuring nobody is left behind in the path to a better future.

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