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Specially-abled kids from Kerala's Munnar bring you eco-friendly gifts for Onam, Rakhi

A group of children at DARE school in Munnar, a centre for special education, has brought out eco-friendly gifting choices for Rakshabandhan and Onam this year. 

Published: 20th August 2021 06:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th August 2021 12:23 PM   |  A+A-

Differently-abled students being coached by instructors before Covid at DARE school in Munnar.

Differently-abled students being coached by instructors before Covid at DARE school in Munnar.

Express News Service

KOCHI: A group of children at DARE school in Munnar, a centre for special education, has brought out eco-friendly gifting choices for Rakshabandhan and Onam this year. These differently-abled children belong to 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 managed by the non-governmental organisation Srishti Trust, has been keeping children engaged with various activities since the last lockdown. 

The festival-themed masks are meant to make the children understand celebrations. The handcraft collections have been made available to the public on Srishti’s Facebook page. DARE school formed in 1991 is dedicated to the rehabilitation of special children and creating sustainable livelihood for differently-abled children of the rural tea plantation communities of Munnar.

According to the school’s principal Shalu Gill, the specially-abled youth and children are being provided lessons in functional academics, basic hygiene, social, self-help and vocational skills. As many as 56 students have enrolled in the current academic year from various age groups. 

They are being trained by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) certified special educators. “We have rehabilitated children who are up to 60 per cent mentally or physically challenged, including one blind student. Due to the lockdown, all the kids are in their respective houses.

So, weekly house visits adhering to the Covid protocol are being carried out by their teachers. They all have specific interests - some are skilled in painting while others in crafts or tailoring. Developing their dexterity through crafts helps improve concentration and creativity,” she says.

Deepika, Preethi, Geetha, Rajkumar, Raja and Vivek are actively involved in making the Onam-themed tote bags, masks, and seed-rakhi. “The festival-special ideas that they can execute at home are inspected by their teachers. For the eco-friendly rakhi gifts, they have used green gram, dal, dry pumpkin seeds, and even sunflower seeds.

Tote bags and masks are being beautified by our children who are interested in painting by drawing Kathakali faces and other Onam elements on them,” says Sandhya Venugopal, manager of Srishti Trust. The institution also has a vegetable and flower garden that the children tend to. “It is therapeutic for them and also empowers them to cultivate their food and lead a healthy and nature-friendly lifestyle,” adds Sandhya. 



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