#InspireMENA Story 3: Carta: Creating Art-from-Trash in Jordan

Carta, a novel paper recycling initiative in Jordan, was launched when Najwan Al Masri noticed the increasing amount of paper wastes being generated at her home (especially when her son started to write and draw) and she thought “Why not to upcycle waste papers into beautiful Art and Crafts”. The thought developed to an idea which then grew into a project with careful research and study about how to make something unique and useful. Carta is trying to give paper recycling a new dimension of creativity, innovation and passion. EcoMENA talks to Najwan Al Masri, the Founder of Carta, to know more about her innovative art-from-trash venture:

EcoMENA: What are the main aims and objectives of your initiative?

Najwan Al Masri: The main aim of Carta is to create beautiful paper waste-based art pieces that are environmentally friendly, touching the values and interest of our communities, and building a meaningful relationship with those around us. Recycling paper is an elegant civilized treat to Earth and it can be mixed with Art to create something that decorate our life in the real sense of the word.

EcoMENA: What motivated you to launch Carta and what drives you to continue?

Najwan Al Masri: As any woman who would like to be an effective part of the community especially that I have a great passion for art, and what I noticed (through teaching my son how to paint and do simple crafts for his school) about the amount of papers we throw every day; I decided to start something that represent what I love and believe.

The amount of support and appreciation that I daily receive with each piece I make drives me to continue and dream big.

EcoMENA: What kind of impact Carta has made on the society?

Najwan Al Masri: Carta has helped in increasing the awareness about paper recycling in our community, and we now have many partners supplying us waste papers to use in our works. I really appreciate the huge amount of support received from the community and I hope that my message of art, peace and love will spread all over the world. You may visit our Facebook page for more information about Carta.

EcoMENA: What are the skills or values required to run a social enterprise like yours?

Najwan Al Masri: I believe a social entrepreneur should have creativity, patience, good communication skills, cultural understanding and the ability to learn, develop, and to accept criticism.

A beautiful handicraft made from waste papers

EcoMENA: What are the major hurdles in establishing a successful social enterprise in MENA countries?

Najwan Al Masri: It is crucial to get the acceptance of the community for new ideas and concepts, especially when providing a product/service that compete with the imported products.

EcoMENA: How has been the progress until now and where do you foresee your organization in the coming 5 years?

Najwan Al Masri: The progress is exceeding our expectations as our small community is growing every day. We expect to have our own shop that will exhibit many products representing our idea of art-from-trash and recycling papers (and other waste materials). In addition, we also hope to have our own space to hold capacity-building sessions and training courses on art, crafts, and recycling.

EcoMENA: Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs in MENA?

Najwan Al Masri: Believe in yourself and your abilities, focus on the value of your work rather than profit, and think of ideas that can make your country as well as the world a better place to live.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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