Get-hooked September 4, 2020
Veruschka Foundation starts online cooking modules for people with developmental disabilities
Cooking is an essential life skill for everyone and there are simple techniques that everyone can learn to be independent in the kitchen. Veruschka Foundation is imparting these skills to people with developmental disabilities through online cooking modules that are fun, innovative and healthy.
The festive season is upon us – a time when many families get together in the kitchen planning and preparing sweets and desserts to mark the special moments.
If you are parent to a child with developmental disability and would like him/her to be a part of this festive spirit or are simply looking for an opportunity for your child to acquire basic cooking skills, check out Veruschka Foundation’s online cooking modules. These are open to people across India.
“We decided to start online classes using things that were available at home as we cannot risk the children or youth going out given that their immune system is weaker compared to others”, says Tatyana Dias, Co-founder, Veruschka Foundation. The NGO is named after her late sister who was on the autism spectrum.
Admissions open for students across India
The online classes offer the same culinary techniques taught at the NGO’s Mumbai institute which trains people with developmental disabilities. The curriculum is customised with knowledge imparted in a fun, informative and innovative way.
We send pre-recorded videos keeping the requirements in mind and shared a document of the entire method followed, with substitutions of various ingredients, like substitutes for mozzarella. The aim is to empower the families. – Tatyana Dias, Co-founder, Veruschka Foundation
Admissions for the new academic year are open. “The online training has given us the option of working with more people regardless of location”, says Tatyana.
Customised modules for students
There are specific modules planned where chefs teach students how to use the gas, peelers, etc. Skills that can help improve motor skills as well, adds Tatyana. “There are many adaptations and ideas that we would like to share with students and parents. With everyone becoming health conscious we are also using this as an opportunity to talk about things like immunity boosters”.
Leading the team of chefs is Pradipti Chavan. “We start with basics like kneading and cutting. There are some challenges of course. For instance, some students become hyper and there are others who are slow, but all show great interest and enthusiasm”. This is the first time she is teaching people with disabilities. “Their parents are there throughout being supportive and that helps”.
Among the most in demand classes are for dishes like pizzas, subways and sandwiches. The lessons have not only helped build confidence but also motivated students to try out new dishes. “One of my students Pallavi Nair would only eat dal chawal before”, adds Pradipti. “Now she is willing to go beyond that”.
Pallavi, who did a one-year independent living programme, has started assisting her mother in the kitchen. “She has a rare genetic condition called Pierre Robin Syndrome and has hands like that of a six-year-old”, says Raji Nair. “I never thought she could enter the kitchen and help me. Now she has learned how to hold the knife, dice and julienne vegetables. I would fear letting her go near the gas. Now she does everything without supervision”.
Sushmita Revankar’s son Raj Rewankar, who has mild autism, has started taking an active interest in what’s cooking at home. “Raj was always interested in basic cooking, so this was the perfect platform. He loves to prepare new dishes and checks out dishes on YouTube and tries them out. He now helps me with the daily cooking chores”.
Sonia Bhandari’s daughter Shivaali does 70% of the work in the kitchen. The 16-year-old, who has Down syndrome, was not allowed to touch a knife earlier.
“Now I tell her what vegetables I need for the day and in the shape and Shivaali chops, dices and juliennes. Like most people with Down syndrome, she is very organised and, so she takes her time over it but does it well”.
Shivaali also decides the menu for the day based on the recipes shared in the curriculum designed by Veruschka Foundation. Sonia has transferred the curriculum to a text to speech version that Shivani follows. “I recommend this course strongly. After my time, I don’t want Shivaali to be a liability for my older daughter. This is a life skill that everyone must know”.
To know more or register call +91-98330-25477
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