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Young adult with Down syndrome wears many creative hats!


Today, as part of this week's special on Down syndrome, we bring you the story of Kimaya. At the age of 21, young Kimaya has had the kind of exposure few people can dream of.

This 21-year-old certainly has a creative bent of mind and gifted hands.

From cooking to handicrafts to painting, Kimaya Wavikar enjoys and excels at any activity that requires aesthetics and patience. A talent that she showed from childhood.

Kimaya, who has Down syndrome, studied in a mainstream school in Mumbai under the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) system. After she finished class 10, her mother, Yojana, pulled her out of school. She decided to focus instead, on giving Kimaya life skills training. She felt that this would enable her to be gainfully occupied and independent.

Life skills training over academics

Soon after she finished class 10 four years ago, we had joined a jewelery workshop at a local center. We started making earrings at home and there were many takers. Many offered to even pay for them – Yojana Wavikar, Kimaya’s mother

That led to the start of their venture KimKan, a home-based handicrafts venture, that involves youth with Down syndrome, like Kimaya.

KimKan sells at exhibitions held across Mumbai. The range of items made are quite extraordinary. Things like gift envelopes, pouches, wallets, diyas, and rangolis - all priced at reasonable rates.

The use of vibrant, dramatic colors and detailed designs makes the items quite eye catching. Kimaya clearly has a gift for intricate designs.

I enjoy making these things. I like to make everything – Kimaya Wavikar, Co-founder, KimKan

Wide exposure

At 21, Kimaya has confidence levels that are quite remarkable. That is because she has been exposed to a range of activities and situations. The kind of opportunities few people her age get.

She is training to be a Bharatanatyam dancer. She has completed four exams, and will take her fifth this year.

She has taken part in many fashion shows, and was a part of a photo shoot featuring people with Down syndrome, by the Paris-based photographer, Sanjyot Telang.

Her attitude and optimism sets her apart from most people her age. Qualities that Yojana instilled in her from a young age.

Kimaya was born after 13 years of marriage. I was elated to conceive after so long. When she was born with Down syndrome, I was devastated. But I pulled myself together. I realized how fake I was. I used to talk about positivity all the time and here I was feeling so depressed, when I was faced with a challenging situation – Yojana Wavikar, Kimaya’s mother

With her family’s support, Yojana pulled herself together. She was determined to do everything in her power to help Kimaya realize her potential.

Today, apart from KimKan, Kimaya is training to be a chef at a course called Culinaris, started by NGO Veruschka Foundation, for people with developmental disabilities.

Clearly, even the sky is no limit for this young woman. She seems ready to take on and excel at anything that is thrown at her!

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