THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amrithavarshini, a non-governmental organisation functioning in the city, is perhaps better known as the ray of hope for those affected by ‘Osteogenesis Imperfecta’ or brittle bone disease. Within a few years ,the organisation has proved that those born with brittle bones can nurture a lot of talents and that they need to be exhibited.
The NGO started functioning in 2000 with the admission of its first member Binu Devasi from Wayanad. All the forty members who are part of this organisation now reside at different parts of the State. There are three or four who have joined the organisation from states like Orissa, Mumbai and Karnataka. The volunteers of the organisation visit each of their homes and give training on how to make bead chains and bracelets, coloured umbrellas, soaps, flower vases and paper craft.
The Amrithavarshini family, along with their parents, were at Technopark recently for an exhibition of the hand made goods produced by the members.
"The materials required for the making of the products are provided by the organisation. Those who have an interest in painting and stitching are encouraged to undertake some work as well. To promote the organisation, paintings done by members have been exhibited at the Soorya Festival for the last two years. Fifty to sixty paintings by Vimala from Kozhikkode were on display last year,” says Abhilash, treasurer of Amrithavarshini.
Dhanya Ravi from Bangalore has been a member of the organisation much before it got registered as a charitable society in the year 2011. After completing her tenth grade, she was trained by the volunteers of the organisation in jewellery making. She now undertakes private assignments on web designing. Sitting in an adult pram and dressed in a salwar suit, Dhanya confidently talks about her work and jovially comments on everything happening around her.
Those born with this rare genetic condition can suffer fractures and cracks even at the effort caused by a sneeze. Dilsha Dileep, a fourteen year old from Thirssur had the first fracture when she was six months old. “Last year, she had a black out and fell down breaking her thigh bone. There were six fractures and she had to undergo a surgery for fixing two steel rods to support her legs,” says Sheeja Dileep, Dilsha’s mother. Dilsha is the latest joinee in the organisation.
Next to her sits Sreeja Erakkam who is in her thirties. Wearing a black dress with silver sequence, Sreeja was fiddling with her mobile. The very talented Sreeja can make colourful umbrellas, soaps and is also good at stitching. She makes clothes for herself and her family, having learned stitching from the volunteers of Amrithavarshini.
The members are supported and encouraged by the management consisting of four members Sreekala GR (SBT Chief Manager), Dr Sudha working at ESI Hospital, Nirmala Pillai and Latha Nair who is the founder of the organisation.
“It was in 2000 that I started the organisation and in 2009 when I met my three Cotton Hill Schoolmates Sreekala, Sudha and Nirmala at an alumni meet, they were eager to lend a helping hand and joined the organisation. We are hoping to reach out to more people suffering from brittle bones. With a bit of physical and mental support they can do wonders and match up with everyone else” says Latha.