Differently abled at Muskaan contribute in Holi celebrations


New Delhi: The festival of color is finally here. So why not smear your loved ones with organic colors this season? A group of differently abled adults has been collectively preparing organic Holi colors for some years.

These adults are trained at Muskaan, a training centre for intellectually disabled adults in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. The group has turned approximately 9200kg of flower petals into colorful organic hues. The flowers are collected by them from temples or other places and then sun dried. The dried petals are then sent to a workshop where they are further converted into powder. Annu Jetley,an educator at Muskaan, says “Flower cutting is therapeutic and helps them gain mental stability and composure.The simple motor skills help them gain focus”.

The trainees gather in a large well-lit room with soft music being played on a daily basis. The centre was established in 1982 as a parent and children association for mental disabilities. There are differences in their levels of intellectual disabilities too. While some possess a lower or moderate level of difficulty, the others need the greater degree of support. The trainees are found to be responding to the music and sing along many a time. Many of them have speech difficulties. Some senior trainees are also paid the stipend for the work they do.

14 members among them do the task full-time including a batch of senior citizen belonging to other groups. They have high working skills and cut flowers in spare time. A few of them have also managed to find jobs.

Shanti Auluck, founder of Muskaan, says ” At present, the processing of dry petals into colour powder is outsourced, but this summer onwards, we will set up our own unit”.

(Inputs from agencies)