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Pre Navratri mela by Chennai parent support group SCAN sees many happy moments

Chennai parent support group Special Child Assistance Network (SCAN)'s two-day pre-Navratri mela was an occasion for the public to interact with disabled youth and but the various creative products they had made. Organisers plan to hold the event twice a year given the grand response.

Tamboolam is an tradition in Tamil Nadu where people exchange goodie bags and gifts on the occasion of Navratri. The pre-Navratri Mela held by the Chennai parent support group Special Child Assistance Network (SCAN) was an occasion to revisit that tradition.

The members of SCAN, including the entire team of youth with disabilities, took part in the mela. They got to showcase their products like paper bags, diyas and soaps and the products were such a hit that there was a re-sale. The team is now looking forward to more such opportunities to showcase their talents.

This is the third year that such a mela was organised.

We have been doing this event since the past three years and have got a great response for all our editions. So now we are planning to have it twice every year. What makes our venture unique is that we provide stalls at subsidised rates where youngsters with disabilities can showcase the products that they made. Otherwise, booking a stall at an exhibition comes at a bomb price in Chennai city and not everyone can afford it. - Vimal Balachander, Member, Special Child Assistance Network (SCAN)

There were exclusive food stalls as well where visitors could sample the yummy snacks and delicacies. Over 1,000 people visited the mela and the crowds kept pouring in as there were 27 stalls to visit. Entertainment programmes were held as well with music bands adding to the mood. Groups like Ekagrata and Champaka performed at the venue.

SCAN had invited schools and NGOs that work with children with disabilities to participate in the event. "All those who participated made good profits also", said Vimal. "When we started this, we wanted to provide a platform for youngsters with disabilities and that was our sole aim. At the same time, we also wanted to create awareness about disabilities and help to empower them".

The mela also helps these youngsters, who have disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, build a regular clientele. "The pre-navratri mela was conceived as an opportunity to showcase works by people under special needs group so that general public could check them out", said Gopinath Ramakrishnan, Co-founder, SCAN.. "We wanted to make the event inclusive so that people can come and see what kind of products are made by these youngsters and interact with them".

To check out some of the products sold at the mela, contact Vimal Balachander at +91 98409- 31790.

Also Read: Every product at GiftAbled Foundation's Diwali sale comes with a unique story

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