By: Sheeba Naaz , Sumiran Preet Kaur
Ruby was a child born with multiple disabilities . Her parents had given up hope a long time back. She had a stunted growth. She joined Prabhat, a school for children with disabilities. Now she is considered as the most brilliant and hardworking student of her class. She cooks and helps her mother in shopping.

Prabhat is a school under Society for Child Development, an NGO. For Ms Punita Buch, principal of Prabhat, the school aims to provide students with educational and vocational training .

“Students across various age groups come to our school. The syllabus differs from person to person as the level of IQ and disability varies with each person. After they cross the age of 16, we involve them in pre-vocational activities to train them before going to any vocational centre. The activities include flower cutting. Flowers are cut, dried and powdered to make skin friendly colors. These are then sold in the market at the time of Holi.”

At the age of 18, many of them are sent to Vocational Centre at Rajpur Road, Delhi. The idea is to make them self reliant partially, if not fully.

Mrs Sarla Goel, incharge of the Raghudev Vocational Centre, says that the place serves as the transition point between education and occupation. “We have activities like weaving, cooking, tailoring and paper making. I tell them that the centre is like their office and they eagerly report for the duty daily .Our products get sold at Archies and Fab India. The centre hopes to become a self sustaining unit by selling these products. We either receive orders or we sell our products at colleges and fairs like the one at Dilli Haat.” The centre also carries a project called ‘Trash to Cash’ where items like coasters are made from discarded floppies. Magnetic strips of audio tapes fabric are utilized to manufacture fabric and purses.

For Dr Madhumita Puri, a clinical psychologist , inclusion of these disabled people into the mainstream society is the correct way to deal with the problem . “We not only have to outreach but also increase our own awareness about the people suffering from such disabilities.”

Dilli Haat is celebrating disabilities with a difference. ARUNIM (Association for Rehabilitation Under National Trust Initiative of Marketing) is offering people a variety of products made by persons with developmental disabilities. The fair started on 23rd September and will go on till 6th October.

NGOs working with disabled people are here from all over India. The main aim of the fair is to market the products made by disabled people. They try to provide them inclusion into the mainstream society and to increase the awareness among people.

ARUNIM is a federation under the National Trust of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. ARUNIM is an initiative to promote products made by persons with disabilities in a supported environment. . All the products sold in this fare tell a story of hardwork, perseverance and patience on part of the disabled individuals and the NGOs.

Mrs Bela Tyagi , a customer at the fair feels that such fairs should be held more frequently. “Some of the NGOs genuinely work towards the cause. And these disabled people have such a great will power and creativity that they make us feel small. Many of them have come to their stalls to sell the products. It’s lovely to interact with them.”