Kerala’s Munnar disabled children bring you eco-friendly gifts for Onam, Rakhi – The New Indian Express


Express news service

KOCHI: A group of children from DARE School in Munnar, a special education center, came up with eco-friendly gift choices for Rakshabandhan and Onam this year. These disabled children are in the 5-20 age group and are engaged in making Onam themed masks and tote bags as part of their lockdown activities. The school, which is run by the non-governmental organization Srishti Trust, has kept children engaged in various activities since the last lockdown.

The festival-themed masks are meant to teach children about the celebrations. The craft collections were made available to the public on Srishti’s Facebook page. The DARE school established in 1991 is dedicated to the rehabilitation of special children and the creation of sustainable livelihoods for children with disabilities in the rural communities of the tea plantations of Munnar.

According to school principal Shalu Gill, young people and children with special disabilities receive courses in functional education, basic hygiene, social skills, self-help and vocational training. No less than 56 students have registered for the current academic year from different age groups.

They are trained by specialist educators certified by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). “We have rehabilitated children with up to 60% mental or physical disabilities, including a blind student. Due to the lockdown, all children are in their respective homes.

Thus, weekly home visits respecting the Covid protocol are carried out by their teachers. They all have special interests – some are good at painting while others are good at crafts or sewing. Developing their dexterity through crafts helps improve focus and creativity, ”she says.

Deepika, Preethi, Geetha, Rajkumar, Raja, and Vivek are actively involved in the making of the Onam themed tote bags, masks and rakhi seeds. “Special festival ideas that they can perform at home are inspected by their teachers. For the ecological rakhi gifts, they used green gram, dal, dry pumpkin seeds, and even sunflower seeds.

Tote bags and masks are embellished by our children who are interested in painting by drawing faces of Kathakali and other Onam elements on them, ”says Sandhya Venugopal, director of Srishti Trust. The institution also has a vegetable and flower garden that children take care of. “It’s therapeutic for them and also allows them to grow their food and lead a healthy, nature-friendly lifestyle,” Sandhya adds.

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