Rekha Dey had a dream that she could grow the bamboo industry in India as an environmentally friendly option for housing, but there was one word standing in her way. Outdated legislation in India had classified Bamboo as a tree instead of a grass. Because of the regulatory structure in India, this one word severely limited bamboo’s potential as a legal option for new construction.

Something had to be done, but who is fighting to clean up old laws? Who has the expertise and the local know-how to identify and remove the systemic barriers to economic opportunity in a place where so many are desperately seeking a better life for themselves and their families?

Enter the Centre for Civil Society, a nonprofit organization based in New Delhi, committed to removing barriers to economic opportunity. The Centre for Civil Society team launched a research and education campaign called, “Bamboo is not a tree,” to help raise awareness among government officials and the public so that they could take action to stand with Rekha and her dream. 

Their project was successful, the law was changed, and today Rekha is doing her part to provide affordable, environmentally friendly housing for India’s people. She is also providing access to employment opportunities for many in the villages and surrounding areas of her work. 

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