The Winter Carnival organised by Spastics Society of Karnataka (SSK) on Saturday started off with an invocation by Anubhav, an autistic student at the SSK school.
After the inauguration where confetti was sprinkled on all present ‘to celebrate the colours of life’ by Vidya Rao, representing a bank that sponsored the event, the floor was opened to visitors, students, parents and teachers to revel in the cultural activities, to hop from stall to stall, to shop, to play games and taste the food.
Two stalls showcasing paper and jute products and terracotta jewellery made by students at the Creative Art Unit of SSK and another that had cakes, cookies, chocolates and baked nippat, a South Indian snack that is usually deep fried, made by those in the Polytechnic Vocational Training Unit were huge hits as was the thrift shop selling everything from books to clothes for as little as `10. “It’s been a busy week for us, what with the orders that we have been receiving for Christmas and the items that we had to get ready for the carnival,” principal of the vocational training centre Sarita Mehra told City Express.
Sulochana Srinivasan, HOD of the Creative Arts Unit who monitored the sales at one of the stalls said, “The 18 students who study in the unit use waste material and other household items to create colourful gift boxes, stationery products, paper plates and other paper products. These children are not independent, and we try to teach them a particular aspect of the craft that they can repeat, based on their different skills. Groups like Mindtree, Manipal Hospital and others that host corporate seminars usually purchase these products. We pay the students a stipend for their work.”
Hitting the can, catching the fish and a few other games had been specially designed so the students of the school too could enjoy them. The culturals saw college bands like Evening Mist and another from Mallya Aditi performing for the crowd, poetry recitation by SSK students, students from the Learner’s Centre - a reverse inclusion school for students from underprivileged backgrounds - dancing to the track Jai Ho and a ventriloquism session by Prahlad Acharya, where he had the audience laughing with his conversations with his monkey doll. Tanvi Gupta and Mitali Sud, who study in class 12 of Mallya Aditi International School and were part of the team that has been helping SSK schoolchildren with writing, art, music and dance which were showcased at the event, said, “We were amazed at how talented they are and their enthusiasm to learn. That’s way better than any of us, in any class, in any school." The girls also shared that they plan to come back to volunteer at SSK during their summer vacation.
Kanchan Srinivasan from Bridge Group III, Learner’s Centre, said he enjoyed the Car Race, where children could ‘race with toy cars by rolling dice. Every hour or two, there were rounds of Housie too. This apart, there was a stall where people could make Christmas cards by a Wishing Tree, a tiny Christmas tree on which people could write what they wished for on slips of paper and tie onto its branches.
Ananth Krishna, an alumnus of the first batch of the SSK school, too had a stall where he displayed a collection of his stamps. “He’s here every year; it’s his chance to visit the school," his mother Vani said, adding, “His collection has been exhibited in Vishweshwaraiah Technological Museum too.” Now, the 36-year-old plans to start a project to help children with cerebral palsy in Andhra Pradesh. “Now that he runs his own company, he’s saving up for the project, which we plan to do in collaboration with Manasa, an NGO in Hyderabad,” she shared.
The primary objective of the carnival was to raise awareness about SSK and its activities. Priya Rao, associate director (technical services), SSK, said, “In terms of awareness, I think this has been our best carnival so far.”
The funds raised through the carnival will be used for activities that SSK conducts with five schools in Harohalli, near Kanakapura.