Paper Ranger creates notebooks using waste paper
Joining the ranks of superheroes, Paper Ranger fights, just like Batman, Superman, or Spiderman, against evil, trying to make the world a better place. In his case however, the enemy is trash, and this hero’s superpowers consist of turning waste paper into useful notebooks. By distributing them to disadvantaged children in rural areas, Paper Ranger not only contributes to a more sustainable, and eco-friendly environment, but also helps those in need. Sounds like a good guy? Keep on reading to find out more about this special hero’s backstory.
Once upon a time (around 9 years ago), a group of university students became increasingly aware of the excessive amount of photocopy paper wasted by people using only one side, and leaving the other blank. In an effort to reduce this waste, they figured out a way to efficiently use both sides of the sheets, and decided to turn them into notebooks. The students started collecting leftover one-side-used A4 papers from different companies, schools, and universities, and developed the know-how to produce creative, hand-made notebooks. The method to bind the books is fairly simple, and easy to do at home (if you want to try it yourself). First the sheets are folded in half leaving both front and back of the page blank. Then, the stack of sheets is wrapped in some cover paper, and punctured on one side using a measuring bar, a screwdriver and hammer. Lastly, the notebooks are bound together with a piece of string, and individualised with cute images on the cover. If you want to try it at home, search “Paper Ranger Notebook Tutorial” on You Tube for an easy to follow video.
In the beginning these books were only used by the group themselves, and it pretty soon became clear that their production exceeded their need of notebooks. So, they decided to use them for a good cause. In many rural areas of Thailand students have very little funds for education, and most often can’t afford notebooks for class. Hence, the group organised their first university volunteer trip in the Lampang province and donated their products there. Inspired by this experience, and with a strong belief in their idea—spreading it through teaching opportunities—Paper Ranger was born, giving the project a name and a face (in the form of a cute and recognisable character).
The life of our hero then continued quite successfully. In 2008 the project worked under The Foundation of Thai Rural Reconstruction Movement (TRRM), under Royal Patronage, and received its first funding from the Siam Commercial Bank Foundation (SCBF) in 2009.
Unfortunately, this period of triumph didn’t last for very long, and the funding was used up within a year. Paper Ranger was faced with a difficult decision: give up or go on. However, driven by his goal to limit the evil power of trash, Paper Ranger figured out new ways to continue his task.
In order to be sustainable, he applied the model of Social Enterprise as the project’s operating model, and modified the approach of working using the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The efforts of Paper Ranger and his numerous volunteers were worth all the hard work, as more and more people became interested in the project. Finally it could generate its own money to continue our hero’s quest, and help the kids in the kingdom’s rural areas.
Up until now, more than 200,000 Paper Ranger notebooks have been made and donated to kids all over Thailand, including the Hmong tribe in Payao province, the Karen kids in Kanchanaburi, and children suffering from Down’s Syndrome in the Chonburi area. Helping hands are always needed, and opportunities to join in on the good work range from donating one-side-used A4 paper, to joining the project to organise a CSR, or volunteering on weekends at Baan Jitasa on New Phetchburi Road.
Paper Ranger seems to be on a steady course against his enemy, but it is important to keep in mind that he couldn’t have done all of that on his own. In fact, everybody can be a superhero, and everybody can be Paper Ranger. For more details, visit www.paperranger.org, or check out our hero’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wearepaperranger.