Kala Avahita is more than a product line or brand to secure earnings for children and adults with disabilities. It is a container for our aspirations towards the growth and development of each child, adolescent and young adult we work with.
Kala Avahita roughly translates as mindfulness through the arts. Kala Avahita is a container for the aspirations and goals being dreamed up for each child of the group, according to their unique abilities and talents. It is an opportunity being envisaged, not just as a means towards designing livelihood options for the children, but also as a pathway to engage with the public in meaningful dialogue about the needs of children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. Building the skills of our children is only one part of our work and would be a half-done job if the environment that our children live and hope to find work in, is not empowered to understand the needs and expressions of our children. Kala Avahita hopes to serve as a bridge for the creation of such a dialogue between the public and our children.
Rolling paper or choosing two colours from the stash of quilling sheets may just be one aspect of this project. The core idea is to bring the group to a common understanding of the possibilities they each carry within themselves. Working together towards individual goals, creating the same product in a myriad ways and forms, learning to run a business while enjoying a craft, meeting deadlines even while caring for one’s self, finding ways to make the best use of available resources – these are some of the intentions contained at the heart of this programme.
“It is not a race. It’s a journey. Enjoy the moment” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
And what could be better than to enjoy that moment with and through the arts?
Highlights of the Program
Working with crafts towards creation of saleable products
Building multiple skills on multiple fronts
Working in teams while keeping individual goals and talents in mind
Opening conversations with the public about the needs of children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities
Strengthening socialisation skills and pushing for adaptability that will be required in an evolving business model
Work done so far
The launch of this vocational work project for the senior group at Snehadhara is a historic moment. A lot of steps taken by many facilitators and children over the years has resulted in the creation of this moment. An integral part of the goals for a child is to work on independence, empowerment and livelihood skills. The sessions on vocational training have focussed on children being a part of small units like cafes, restaurants, printing presses, cash counters and shops to understand how they work, support their daily workings and find a connection with their own abilities and talents.
- The children and adults of the senior most group of Snehadhara Foundation have been working at HOPCOMS – a cooperative vegetable outlet, Maya Printers and Chowdeswari Traders – a local provision store. They have been learning skills suitable to that space and also building the physical and mental stamina required, towards completion of tasks that have to be undertaken in that space. There has been a clear growth in the capacity of the students to hold small tasks independently and even work with an eye for detail.
- The students have also been creating paper bags, quilling earrings, diyas and other decorative items that have so far been gifted to visiting faculty, visitors and performing artists coming to the Centre. They have undertaken one large order of a set of 60 earrings commissioned by a person who wanted to gift products created by people with disabilities during the Gowri Ganesha festival season. Taken on and completed at short notice, this order taught the students much about deadlines, details, precision, aesthetics, customer service, packaging, branding, teamwork and financial viability of a project