Maya Vivek: On art of living, economic growth, environmental care and more

Meet the social entrepreneur turning temple flowers into incense and empowering women with sustainable practices

Chokita Paul Published :  31st March 2023 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  31st March 2023 12:00 AM
Maya Vivek

Maya Vivek

Maya Vivek’s voice as a social entrepreneur crystallised when she noticed a problem with temple flowers being discarded as waste and decided to prevent its recurrence. Through Holy Waste, her 2019-formed social enterprise with partner Minal Dalmia, situated at Gundlapochampally village in Kompally, she upcycled flower debris into fragrant incense and other products, while providing employment opportunities for women, particularly from marginalised communities. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, and she has become a principal member in the field of social entrepreneurship. In her upcoming talk at Goethe-Zentrum, the winner of India Sustainability Award 2022, will be sharing her story. 

Maya’s exhortation for women to become financially independent entrepreneurs also aligns with Earth Day, which is just around the corner, reminding us of the need for sustainable solutions to preserve it. “Women are closely associated with the environment and they can bring a major change in the same and how the issues around it have been handled so far,” she tells us. She emphasised that women have greater comprehension of the environment owing to their historical role as caregivers and providers, eventually making their involvement in environmental decision-making crucial. Drawing an interesting parallel between women and the planet, she notes how both have been exploited and oppressed for economic gains and industrial development, leading to ecological imbalances, climate change, and degradation. Maya shall also highlight the need for inclusive and intersectional approaches to sustainable development that address the interconnected challenges of gender inequality, and poverty.

“Both for women and earth, what we seek are equal opportunities to live, to participate in growth while triggering sensitivity from others around. That’s what we need for the well-being of both of these entities and acknowledge the part they play in our lives,” she adds. It was a video featuring two men from Kanpur who had taken to recycling floral waste that set off a spark in her mind, urging her to delve deeper into the realm of waste management and explore the possibility of creating sustainable livelihoods from waste. With the issue of floral waste weighing heavy on her mind, she saw it as a plausible cause.

In the early months of 2019, Maya and her team made use of online tutorials and DIY kits to be guided on this venture. By March of that year, they had developed a prototype of their product, and come April, Maya had registered her startup, Oorvi Sustainable Concepts Pvt Ltd, the parent establishment of Holy Waste. The name Oorvi, which translates to earth, reflects the company’s profound vision to promote sustainability while empowering underprivileged women. The company was also honoured with the coveted Best Green Startup award in the Eco Ideas category at the prestigious Green India Awards, 2019

On March 31. At Banjara Hills.
Twitter: @PaulChokita