Make Raksha Bandhan special with rakhis made by youth with intellectual disabilities
Raksha Bandhan is on 2 August and those of your looking to buy rakhis should check out these handmade ones crafted by youth with intellectual disabilities in Baroda. You can buy them online too so that you stay away from public spaces.
Brightly coloured wool sewn together into pom-poms. Shiny beads in eye catching colours. 20-year-old Shruti Gupta’s fingers move like lightening as she crafts rakhis that are great to look at and unique.
This young woman with Down syndrome learned how to make rakhis last year at a workshop organised by Specko Brainy, a group in Baroda formed by parents of children with intellectual disabilities and autism which aims to inclusion and social acceptance. This year due to the coronavirus lockdown, the children are making rakhis at home.
Due to the lockdown, the children in our group had to make the rakhis by themselves. Usually they work under supervision and some help. We bought the materials and sent it to their homes, and I explained the steps to the parents’. Those making it for the first time struggled a bit and it took some trial and error before they got it right. – Manju Kaushal, Founder, Specko Brainy
Beautiful, affordable rakhis
Over 5,000 rakhis have been made so far by these youth who have disabilities like autism and Down syndrome. “The age group is 16 years and above”, says Manju. “We had younger children making rakhis before but now we are giving this opportunity to 16 years and above as it’s an opportunity to acquire some skills”.
Shruti makes nearly 50 rakhis a day, says her mother Sanchita Gupta. “She starts around 1 pm and makes them until about 5 pm. This is a great way for her to spend her time during this lockdown and earn some money”.
Rakhis available online
For Sanjana Patel, 17, this is all a new experience. She is making rakhis for the first time. “I gave her a sample to follow and all the materials in a bowl”, says mother Aruna. “She has some difficulty in using a needle and made mistakes with the first rakhi. She is getting better at it now”. Sanjana loves making rakhis with beads. “She makes 10-15 pieces a day as she struggles a bit with the needle”, says Aruna.
These rakhis are quite popular in Baroda and are often sold out within days. There are even pieces made inspired by cartoon characters! Aruna Gupta is a loyal customer. “I have purchased many rakhis made by the youth in the Specko Brainy group. The children work so hard and they are not just beautiful but also reasonably priced at between ₹ 10-15”.
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