Clothing waste is a real thing

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PHOTO COURTESY OF AADI SHANKAR

Princeton Day School junior creates non-profit to give second-hand clothing to underprivileged school children in India.

The average American creates over 81 pounds of clothing waste – 95% of which can be recycled.

Clothing waste is a real thing and Princeton Day School junior Aadi Shankar is doing something positive about it.

It was in 2018 when Shankar was cleaning out his closet to get rid of unwanted clothing, when he was struck with the amount of clothing that he was going to waste.

It was then that Shankar realized the overlooked issue of clothing waste in America, and started Prosfero, a non-profit meaning “donate” in Greek that gives second-hand clothing to underprivileged school children in India.

With over 7,000 articles of clothing – the equivalent of 1,000 kilograms – donated, Prosfero has partnered with schools in Delhi, India, as well as Gyan Jyothi, an Indian non-profit that provides free education to young women. In 2020, due to increasing demand, Prosfero partnered with DHL to deliver clothes to India free of charge.

PHOTO COURTESY OF AADI SHANKAR
PHOTO COURTESY OF AADI SHANKAR
PHOTO COURTESY OF AADI SHANKAR

“Prosfero is important to me because it allows me to connect with my ethnic background in a way that allows me to give back,” Shankar said. “Prosfero was built on the vision of providing resources to communities that aren’t fortunate enough to have them all.”

Prosfero recently sent a batch of clothing in March, and looks to send out another one this summer through its partnership with DHL. Shankar hopes that Prosfero will expand its volume of donated clothing with more volunteers.

“Most of the clothing that people throw away can easily be donated or reused,” Shankar said. “Prosfero is a great way for people in the Princeton community to give back to the community, simply by cleaning out your closet.”

Prosfero’s increasing impact and media recognition in India, specifically in the city of Ghaziabad, motivates Shankar to continue Prosfero and expand its reach to more children in India.

“For many of the students, items that we consider to be basic necessities, like clothing, are luxuries,” Shankar said. “Seeing the students’ faces after receiving a new load of Prosfero clothing is one of the best feelings I’ve experienced and drives me to expand this initiative.”