Lives changed by Diya Foundation at the Candle Room…
The candle room is an important part of Diya Foundation as some of the most creative products come out of here. Many specially-abled students like Preethi, Pinto, Deepika and Sheryl have shown significant progress, according to their trainer Sukanya. Deepika, a 16-year-old girl with borderline retardation, assists in the production of candles. “Even when I am not here, I know she will do the tasks with ease as she is extremely responsible,” says Sukanya. Deepika, who comes from Lingarajpuram, helps measure wax for melting, pours wax and packs the candles.
“Sheryl has progressed a lot too and helps me clean the moulds. Earlier, she never used to talk. Now, even if she raises her voice and scolds me in anger, I am happy at the thought of her communicating,” smiles Sukanya.
At the Chocolate Room…
Diya Foundation makes some of the best chocolates and many specially-abled employees are behind this feat. One such employee is Divya, a mild mentally-challenged young adult, who has progressed tremendously and makes around four to five kilos of chocolates a day. When she joined Diya three years ago, she was a timid and shy trainee. Now she is very self-expressed and speaks really good English as well! “I like what I do,” she smiles. “I give the money that I earn to my mom who puts it in a savings account,” she beams.
Rekha is another special trainee who wraps around six kilos of chocolates a day. When Rekha first began training on wrapping chocolates her trainers had serious reservations about her ability to achieve this task. Rekha was put on to wrapping chocolates made of wax and her speed on wrapping slowly improved. Today, Rekha wraps chocolates with a precision and neatness that has surprised and made her trainers proud and at the same time taught them a lesson on perseverance and not giving up based on preconceived judgements.
At the Computer Room…
You see many bright specially-abled students at the data entry unit. After all, typing data with accuracy is not easy and moreover, these students have to handle corporate orders. One student from this unit, who has progressed tremendously, is Suresh, an 18-year-old boy with a learning disability. Positive and hardworking, Suresh comes from Oil Mill Road and always does every task with a smile on his face. “From the time he joined Diya a few months ago, he always had the capability,” explains his trainer Arun. “Now, he is able to look after the entire unit. He has great leadership qualities and knows his responsibilities too,” he adds. Suresh is today earning a salary of Rs.2,500/- and is being groomed to take on being a trainer in the Data entry unit.
An ever-smiling lad, Suresh totally enjoys what he is doing. “I came here on June 2, 2012,” he recalls with precision. “You can give me any work and I would do it,” he smiles. Ask him about his earnings and he says, “I give the money to my parents.”
Students like Divya, Naveeta and Blessy have shown great progress too, Arun says. “In fact, Divya sometimes points out things that even we wouldn’t have known about,” he explains.
At the Paper Room…
For the trainees in the paper room, each day is filled with activities as they produce paper bags, magazine holders and bowls among other products. All these trainees are mentally challenged, some of who are Down’s Syndrome. It is the training they receive at Diya that has turned them into productive individuals. Many of them are more than just productive. They are true achievers in their work and life.
One such achiever is Prithviraj babu whose main job is to fix rivets and cords on the paper bags. Earlier, he used to tear paper for paper products but now he fixes rivets and cords on 35 bags in one day. “Come home someday,” he invites people with warmth.
Shafiq is yet another newcomer who helps in the odd chores like fetching of the paper, gum etc for the paper room. He is very conscientious about his work space maintenance and an excellent team member. “When are you going to pay me my stipend?” he asks and then continues to narrate an excellent understanding of his job description listing the many job tasks he does during the day.
Bhuvana is a seasoned achiever and has been setting steady records in the paper room. At present, she produces 25 paper bags a day without any supervision and with perfect quality! “She comes from Kamanahalli and takes around ten minutes to make each bag,” says her trainer Raju with pride.