Special people
Posted: Thursday, November 06th, 2008 | Posted by: Ashish Rao | Views: 22628
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Every Diwali brings in abundance of joy happiness and light into every one of our lives. We embellish our homes with diyas and candles to light up our surroundings. Then , without a care we burn fireworks and watch our money burn into flames. But have you ever thought about some special people who have no light in their lives? Yet they put in their hard work into lighting other people’s lives. The Mobility Training Center for the blind in Mangalore does just that. Apart from their daily schedule, when the festive season comes around, the students get their hands busy making candles and diyas.
Although they cannot see light, the Mobility Training Center for the blind trains its students in making candles. Initiated in 2000, Lydia the director of the institute patiently teaches her students this art. The training begins a month before Diwali arrives and many of the center’s inmates indulge in candle making. This unique art is quite simple and once the blind students get to know the technique, they enjoy making them.
Candle making begins two months before the festive season. Lydia, has taught eight of her inmates this year. Varadaraj , a blind student at the center said, “ Initially I found it difficult to learn the new art but then when I made my first set I began to like it.” Students are first oriented towards the shape of the mould and wax. They are then made to feel the wax and the moulds. This gives them an idea of the shape of the moulds. The wax is then heated and students learn to feel its texture by mixing it with a spoon. By now the mould is made ready by smearing oil on its inner surface. Students now pour the heated wax into the mould. Moulds come in three types, small, medium and big. Depending on the number of candles required the wax is poured into respective moulds. The moulds are designed in a way that the two halves can be separated. Once the wax is ready to be poured, the two halves are put together. The candle’s wick runs along the length of the candles. Threads which are tied are cut to suit the candle’s length. Students then dip the mould into water for the candles to cool. This makes the candles hard and ready for use.
Some blind students find it difficult while pouring the wax. But once they make one set confidence sets in. It usually takes one hour for the completion of a set of candles. All the eight students could finish making 8 sets per day. The mobility training center also teaches chalk making , tailoring, and knitting. Aiding them in this venture is the Government Polytechnique College, Bondel. Teachers from the technical institute assist the center’s students in learning these skills. The institute started this in 2000 under a central government scheme. It aims at integrating persons with disabilities in technical and vocational education. They also provide a scholarship of Rs. 250/- per student and Rs. 10/- for their mid –day meal. A single batch usually has five students. The college also provides them with the raw materials needed for this work. Experienced teachers have come to the aid of teaching vocational courses to the blind.
Candles made at Mobility training center are usually sold only to familiar customers like members of the Rotary clubs. They are also made during festivals like Christmas. They are usually sold at Rs 30 for the big packets, Rs 8 for small ones. Some candles are made in diamond , heart and star shapes as well. If time permits they even add fragrance to it. Most students feel that once they have done them, they need to earn out of it. Like any other household, the blind students also celebrate Diwali with the same enthusiasm. Vittal Bhat, another blind student recalls,” We lit the same candles we made and enjoyed. My family bought me new clothes and we ate sweets along with my friends. I also lit firecrackers.” The students have made around 2000 rupees from this year’s sales. Some of them find the process laborious but eventually get used to it. Many of the families of the blind felt that they could sell their candles on their own. They could also make them at home but since moulds are rarely available this option is difficult.  Some blind students use holi colours to make colourful candles.  Last year they also made some waxed lamps. These students are taught these skills so that they can be independent. Recently Radio Mirchi , Mangalore had arranged a lunch with 25 students and sweets were distributed. Lydia goes on a very slow pace while teaching since some students are slow to learn. The polytechnique college distributes certificates after their courses. The center has plans to begin doll making courses in the near future.
All this action at the Mobility training center just proves that the visually handicap can make their lives brighter using their skills. If the blind cannot see then their auxillary skills are certainly the ones they use well. Its only the determined mind which can put itself to use and display its creativity.
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Very interesting article and touching too. Thorough in all the details.
Posted By: anupama, Tuesday, November 11th, 2008