NEW DELHI: Some are hearing impaired, some are battling psychological issues, others are physically disabled, and yet others are slum children. Every year, come Diwali, these underprivileged sectors toil at giving their creativity a shape to generate revenue. This year is no different. Here are few NGOs, societies and individuals, who work every year before such festivities to create reasonable Diwali lighting essentials.
Gurugram-based Babita Jain, 44, who started Karigari Krafts, is a one-woman army with a hearing impairment. Jain has been creating tea light holders, torans, rangolis with paper quilling, thread work, and crochet for over 12 years.
Though she can only communicate by using a few words, her enthusiasm is palpable. Her daughter Vartika tells us how her mother started making diyas, and progressed to using acrylic mehndi and even quilling. “She mostly makes items for Raksha Bandhan and Diwali, and décor items, cards and envelopes for festivals and family functions on order.”
Jain’s eco-friendly diyas are made from cow dung and filled with ghee. “The diyas burn off completely leaving no waste,” adds Vartika. Sewa Bharti has been channelising slum children as part of their Street Children Project for over 30 years. And ex-director and patron Madan Lal Khanna, 83, informs that the Diwali stock these kids make sells out three to four days before the festivities.
“We have two vocational training sessions for the 75 boys and 150 girls. While boys make wax candles as it may get hazardous, girls paint diyas and make macramé and jute bags. We don’t showcase items at exhibitions. The public comes over to our Basti Vikas Kendra at Dilshad Garden.”
Then Vidyasagar Institute of Mental health & Neurosciences (VIMHANS) in Nehru Nagar has tapped into patients’ talent by giving them vocational training, along with treatment. Sandhya Chaudhry, secretary of the hospital trust explains how they work with two types of patients – those who come to centre daily from 10 to 5, and those battling psychosis and dementia, and need immediate emergency care and stay for 2-3 three weeks.
“As they have a lot of time, we engage them in art and craft activities, where they create these candles, torans, wall decors and fairy lights,” says the 27-year-old, adding that “it’s a wonderful experience treating them. These people just need care, attention and someone to listen to them.”
A disability can restrict a person’s dreams. But Madhumita Puri of Society for Child Development, says, “People with disabilities grow up with a belief that they don’t need to work because they have people to take care of them and sometimes people don’t let them gain the confidence to work. Here we want to break that by making them self dependent.”
As part of their Trash to Cash programme, almost 80 people apart from the ones under training make diyas, tealight candle holders from waste items. “We get newspapers, bulbs, threads and clothes from textile factories and other things, which are then put into use in form of paper mache and stitched items. We get donations from people, and pay them from the sales generated,” she adds.
Torans and latkans made from waste clothes, rangoli, Diwali gift boxes, diyas, paper mache diyas are what they created this Diwali. “As part of the Holi programme, we collect flowers from temples and make holi colours and incense sticks,” Puri adds.
Delhi-based Etasha Society trains about 42 underprivileged women from Mangolpuri and Palwal in Haryana in making a variety of diyas by. Leepakshi Takhtani, a facilitator at the NGO, says, “These women buy raw material and create the articles at their homes.
Later, we collect and sell these at exhibitions to generate income.”And so, every Diwali, simple materials combined with hard work and good intentions continues to foster team spirit and revenue and of course bunch of smiles.