Motivation to go on: Rumana Sinha Sehgal on her Karmaveer Chakra (silver) award

 thehindu.com  12/04/2019 11:03:18 

Actions define you; to act upon something you need focus, says Rumana Sinha Sehgal. The software engineer-turned social entrepreneur was recently conferred with ReX Karmaveer Chakra (silver) award and Global Fellowship award 2019 for her work in the zone of women and child empowerment in New Delhi and considers this award is a motivator and recognition that her focus is in the right direction. The award is instituted by the iCONGO in association with the United Nations as the REX Conclave.

Rumanas list of achievements are numerous. Serendipity, her company that creates recycled art and installations, has completed a seven year journey. It started off with creating and curating events in dcor mostly from scrap and has now grown into a social entrepreneurship. Being a social entrepreneur I realised it an important need as I work closely on sustainable development; It has helped me align my organisation goals with it. As an artist and industrial engineer, it is important to combine my fortes to advocate my cause to domestic violence, she says.

That sabbaticals can recharge your life came true for her when she left her job with ADP. Her three-year-old son had just began school and the dormant artist in her became active doing props and crafts for his art projects. The school approached her for a carnival and she created Winnie the Pooh. The Disney character was loved by all more so because she had gathered scrap at home to create it. She shares: That is how the whole concept of recycled art fell into the arms of Serendipity.

Some of the common materials that her company recycles include newspapers, rubber tyres, metal scrap and primarily non-biodegradable substances. Instead of burning them why not create art which has a social concept to it, says Rumana. She has also been working in the field of menstrual hygiene in rural sector and an NGO called Voice of Slum to support education among slum dwellers in Noida. It has been her third year with Yeoman Enterprises which makes biodegradable sanitary napkins. Recently I had been to Gattu, a mandal in Gadwal district with a group of school children and was astonished to see husk and ash being used as a sanitary pad by the women. It was sad to know that menstrual blood and period is still considered a taboo and buying a sanitary pad is a huge thing for young girls and we are passionately looking at impacting their lives positively.

Also a former Mrs India (Universe) she enjoys being multi-faceted. While juggling different roles, she continues to make props for her sons school. For the recent annual day, we had created a fort entrance using jute mats. There is a need to have a social line and I found art driving these causes. She adds: I am a team worker and being with people and contributing is not new to me; having a passion for the country is something I am born with and that itself is a motivator.

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