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“WELL” – Women Empowerment by Local Livelihood is the Vision, philosophy and concept behind Wellpaper.

WELL paper is a unit​ ​under the Auroville Foundation. The project was co-founded by Orly Alon Merguei, and social worker. Orly is a social worker, in her education and experience, who uses the arts for social and personal therapy.​ 

 Orly and Danny, with their three children, moved to India in 2004. A few months after the move, the tsunami devastated the Tamil Nadu coastline in December 2004, the collapse was seen throughout Auroville and neighboring communities. Witnessing the impact on these communities, Orly and Danny acknowledged the need for action, and from there, WELL – Women Empowerment through Local Livelihood – was born. As a post-Tsunami-Relief effort, the core aim was to provide alternative livelihood to affected families from the surrounding villages of Auroville.


Started as a straight out rehabilitation program, WELL paper -  has grown into a social enterprise model, employing women across many villages in the area. Engagement calls for diverse capabilities, training, and practices for women. The goal is to promote engagement in the arts and diverse capabilities and training for achieving self sustainability. WELL has three priorities for achieving this goal;


Strengthening: Helping local women through arts adapt to change by moving engagement to the core of who they are and what they do. The project was created to empower local village women to grow independently, financially, and within their family unit by providing extensive training in building, managing, and maintaining their profit-sharing production units. Hence, regular skill training, guidance, and support, and coaching is offered.


Hand-made and Eco-friendly: experimentation and innovation are encouraged by Up-cycling techniques of papier-mache, weaving, coiling, and jewelry assembly. Up-cycling mainly newspaper and Plastic bottles, Styrofoam, and more. To create a range of products; home decor projects like baskets, placements, bowls, and fashion accessories like jewelry and creatively crafted handicrafts.


Leadership and Team Building: Develop a field of leaders, the WELL women will be involved in decision making and daily operations. Along with working together to expand engagement through the arts to others by conducting up-cycling workshops and training

Ecological 'Green' practices:  WELL paper focuses on being zero-waste through up-cycling. What began from a hand-made basket from newspaper waste has evolved to include a wide array of recycled waste creations. Orly, as an Upcycling artist, motivated and conjured the members' interest to create forms with recycled materials. It sparked discussion meetings and creative brainstorming for product development.


WELL, as an ecological and sustainable unit, does not use electricity. From the paint to the glue, the products used are without harmful chemicals and sourced locally wherever. From making the product to its transport, the process is eco-friendly and has the least carbon footprint.


Workshops and Community participation: WELL offers ongoing training for participants and trained participants provide workshops. Further, WELL operates projects focusing on extending its presence and deepening connections through participation in existing creative programs, neighborhood events, cultural festivals within the Auroville community and beyond. 

Workshops currently being conducted:


1. Baskets Weaving Introductory workshop -

 Experienced Wellpaper ladies will teach you how to create the newspaper sticks made from rolled-up newspapers that serve as reeds for the baskets. You will be instructed and supported during the process. By the end of the workshop, you will have made your basket. You will make the coloring of the final product on your own since it needs time to dry.


2. Bowls Coiling introductory workshop-


The WELL Women will demonstrate how to create beautiful bowls, containers, and accessories made of flattened and coiled newspaper sticks. 

3. Paper Mache Introductory workshop-


In this workshop, you will learn the making and usage of colored paper pulp. You will be guided through the process of cutting and shaping a serving bowl from cardboard, finished with pulp. 











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