Students from Asha Deepam, Trichy are beginning an exciting project, an opportunity that is allowing them to earn money so that one day they can be self-reliant. These students, who have learning differences, attend an SCN school. And they now have a chance to take further steps to one day support themselves despite the hardships that some of their learning disabilities present. The group has formed and registered themselves into a Self Help Group – Surabhi. And they have been able to do so, thanks in part to the generosity of the District Collector who donated 20,000 rupees ($445) as capital to Surabhi to begin their projects.

The District Disability Rehabilitation Officer in Trichy introduced Surabhi to an agency who asked them to stitch yellow gift bags called Thirumana Thambulam. These bags are traditionally used to give coconut, sweets, banana and other offerings to the invited guests during weddings.

The Surabhi members, under the direction of Elsy Vettickal, SCN, have received their first order for 1,000 bags. The members have engaged in some good natured competition with one another as to who can stitch the most bags in a day. Surabhi members stitch about 50–60 bags per day.

The agency will pay Surabhi 0.4 rupees per bag. The students have decided to take 0.3 rupees for themselves and will deposit 0.1 rupee in the Self Help Group fund.

Surabhi members are very excited about their efforts to become self-reliant. One of the students shares that she is very happy doing this work and even spends her time out-of-class to stitch bags. There is also some good natured competition taking place between the boys and girls as to who can make the most bags.

So far, these dedicated students have completed two jobs and were excited to receive payment for them.

“From the beginning I have been with the students to encourage and to supervise their work. It is very fulfilling work for me to spend time with these children and to know them closely,” says Sister Elsy.

Story submitted by Elsy Vettickal, SCN

To view more pictures of Surabhi click here.

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