Diwali or Deepavali, the festival of lights and the festival of victory of good over evil is upon us this weekend. Every year, millions of Indians flock to the markets to shop for new clothes, decorations, diyas, lamps, and much more.
However, this Diwali, let’s celebrate it but spreading joy and light in the lives of others. Let’s celebrate by helping others.
To help spread goodness and joy, HerStory brings to you a list of NGOs and social enterprises from where you can do your Diwali shopping, and contribute to a good cause.
GiftAbled - An inclusive gift store
GiftAbled sells products sourced from over 100 NGOs in the country, that helps people with physical and intellectual disabilities. This social enterprise brings artistic talents of underprivileged to the forefront and helps them earn a livelihood.
The online platform has a special Diwali collection every year, and this year is no different. It has handmade gifts like candle holders, chocolates and dry fruit boxes, which are also clubbed together in special boxes.
Apart from Diwali gifts, GiftAbled also has several kinds of goodies like lanterns, jewellery, apparel, home decor, bags and more, making the platform a perfect gifting solution this Diwali.
Diya Foundation is a vocational training centre-cum-sheltered workshop in Bengaluru, that helps differently-abled youth. Through Diya Innovations, the social enterprise of the foundation, employment and skill training to intellectually challenged individuals are provided.
The Diya Innovations team consists of 60 percent of intellectually challenged adults who create products like paper lanterns, candles, lamps and chocolate boxes. It also has recycled crafts (made from bottles, newspaper and seeds), and a line of embellished linen products.
Prasanna Autism Centre
Prasanna Autism Centre in Pune runs a vocational training initiative with the aim to create opportunities for children with autism, to gain independence and learn new skills.
For Diwali, children at Prasanna Autism Centre are trained to make paper bags, gift boxes, greeting cards, envelopes, jelly wax floating candles, bookmarks, diyas, lanterns and jewellery boxes. These skills help them cope better in life and also adds to their confidence level, says a member from the centre.
The children then sell these products at an exhibition held every year. Through these exhibitions, they also learn to socialise. These products can be bought from the centre in Shivaji Nagar, Pune from 9 am to 5 pm.
Tribe Chatari and Purva Paranjpe organised an exhibition in Pune that features a spectacular display of bamboo, palm leaf ceramic candles, lanterns, hanging lamps, tabletop lamps, corner table lamps, rotary iron lamps and environmental supplements in iron.
It features artefacts from tribal artists from Melghat, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh. The exhibition is also approved by the Tribal Development Department of the Central Government.
Mitti Ke Rang
Mitti Ke Rang, a social organisation that works around the concept of #DiyaForACause this Diwali, has trained 50 women to make candles and are helping them sell it too.
Its aim, this Diwali, is to provide these women with a decent amount of earnings which would brighten up their homes.
Its target is to sell one lakh diyas, which are eco-friendly and can be bought online.
Sankalp is a well-known school in Chennai for children with developmental disabilities. It provides vocational and skill training sessions and equips the students to make beautiful handmade products throughout the year.
This Diwali, the school is focussing on making hand-woven loom products suitable for people of all ages. It also has an array of other products on sale including handmade soaps, painted pottery and cloth bags, to name a few. Youngsters from the age of 18 to 25 years are part of the project, which is called 18 Plus.
Pragiti is a centre based in Hyderabad which empowers youngsters with disabilities. Its main focus is on making eco-friendly and recyclable products. Every year for Diwali, it makes some creative and interesting products.
This time, it is making hand-painted diyas that have already been ordered in bulk. It has a team of more than 10 individuals between the ages of 18 and 35 years, who have mild and moderate intellectual disabilities. Pragiti also makes paper bags and other paper products.
Aarambh Special School
Aarambh Special School in Pune provides vocational and skill training to young people with disabilities to make them independent and self-reliant. This Diwali, it is producing various products like Painted 'diyas', candles, agarbathis and other eco-friendly products for sale.
The products are made by youngsters between the ages of 12 and 25 years with cerebral palsy, autism and Down Syndrome. The Diwali sale is happening at various exhibitions and 'melas' across Pune.
Antardrishti by Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan
Antardrishti is a project that aims to motivate mainstream acceptance and opportunity for differently-abled individuals. It wants to make these individuals independent and promote inclusive growth. Every year, Antardrishti project sells uniquely handcrafted scented prayer candles made by differently-abled people.
These candles are well-known for being long-lasting and are sold at various stalls in Delhi. The information about these stalls is available on their website.
Sparsh is a non-governmental organisation that supports underprivileged kids with special needs. The Delhi-based organisation includes the Sparsh Special School, Project Shakti, Udaan and Arts Vintage projects to support the children.
During Diwali, the kids from the school make hand-painted diyas, glass gel candles, terracotta diyas, scented tea light candles, and plastic-free decorations.
Apart from Diwali, it also has products for Holi and Rakhi. It also has products like perfumes, DIY candle kits, fashion jewellery, stationery and packaging products.
(Edited by Suman Singh)