It is people who count, not the disability
VidyaSagar strives towards fulfilling the dreams, aspirations and needs of persons with disabilities. The adult programmes address their need for higher education, skills training, employment through open placement, self-employment, marketing products and leisure.
The Employment Education Centre
The Employment Education Centre (EEC) focuses on developing a work culture, providing self-help skills and soft skills. The training units vary each year depending on the group of students. Some units that are currently functioning include leaf ware products, paper cups, paper plates, paper bags, and jewelry-making and woven products.
This is an initiative where adults with disability form groups and set up their own units with the support of their families. The EEC facilitates the formation of these groups.
The Adult Leisure Programme
This programme was initiated in 2001 for persons with profound disabilities. The focus is on providing leisure activities such as watching films, listening to music and going on outings and learning to make hand-made crafts.
The Youth Programme
The Youth Programme was started in 2011 to meet the needs of youth with neurological impairment. This programme aims to provide them open employment and self-employment opportunities through skills training and marketing support and looking at issues related to family life, leisure and recreation. A set of five students with profound physical disability achieved a milestone when they were sanctioned a loan to start a unit to make arecanut plates.Initial training was provided to self-employed persons in packaging and marketing.
The programme has fostered two initiatives - the Kalakkal Cafe and the KalakkalKadai
Kalakkal Cafe is a first-of-its-kind initiative in India. It is an inclusive cafe designed to give access to people with disabilities. It is equipped with aids such as Braille menu cards, tactile walls, ramps, bathrooms and even some eating aids.
The Kalakkal Cafe functions on two Saturdays a month from our premises at Kotturpuram an inexpensive place to chill out with music and food. Kalakkal Cafe has just turned one.
We are actively trying to take Kalakkal Cafe outside the premises of Vidyasagar and into other spaces in the city and make restaurants inclusive and accessible.
Kalakkalkadai is the other initiative, aimed at providing a marketing platform for self-employed persons with disabilities. The kadai stocks wares from six organizations including Vidyasagar, Sri Sakthi Academy, Satya Special School, Twin Twigs, Swami's boutique and the Support Society of parents of Vidyasagar.
The store has woven products, papiermache and paper products, eco-friendly bags, plates and cups, durries and batik materials.
The store is open five days a week and provides a great marketing platform to our alumni and other organizations that focus on empowering the disabled.