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Dr. Maya Mahajan, Associate Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering Coimbatore, takes steps to make the villagers of Siruvani self sufficient and also to remove the latana weed from forest cover. She decided to use this weed, which was very similar to bamboo, to make furniture. The right support and financial assistance was provided by Amrita University. “We roped in ATREE, a Bengaluru based organisation, to train villagers in furniture- making. Around 40 residents of the three villages were trained in a three-month training programme beginning December 2015. The project was funded by the department of science and technology,” informs Maya.