One of their programs was Navaratri Mela in which they arranged the sale of products made by special needs families, schools or individuals, with stalls, food counters and entertainment. But this year, the
Navaratri Mela is going online. Vimal Balachander, the brain behind Navaratri Melas at Mitr, tells us, “Families of special children from the city come together to host interesting events and Navaratri Melas at Mitr was one of our favourite events. We have been hosting this event for the past three years at a space in Besant Nagar. But this year, because of the pandemic we are not organising any public events. That said, I didn’t want to dampen the spirit of families and children and have decided to host the mela online. Through a common platform, families of specially-abled children and people who work with specially-abled can sell the products made by the children.”
Along with other parents, Vimal is also planning another online activity — on October 24, children with special needs will be having an online fashion show, antakshari, etc. “We have already spread the word about this online event. Parents of special children can send us videos of performances by the children and on 24th, we will be having an online group event,” she adds.
Kavitha Narasimhan who runs a social enterprise called Ekagrata is also part of Navaratri Melas at Mitr. Her initiative focuses on sustaining the livelihoods of people with special needs and also women groups in rural and semi-urban areas. “We use fabric leftovers to make our products. I collect fabric waste from different boutiques and design the product based on the skillset of people whom we work with. The making of a product depends on the ability of the individual -- if he/she is confident enough to create, then only will make the product. We make stationeries, home decor, and accessories with fabric waste. I identify and get in touch with differently-abled individuals through NGOs in the state,” shares Kavitha.