Published: 25th February 2020
A group of visually impaired children from Kottayam created these table-top calendars. Check them out here
Students of Government Blind School, Olassa, Kottayam painted a few pictures which were utilised to make table-top calendars which are being sold like hotcakes. Almost 750 calendars are sold out
Regardless of whether you are a person who lives life governed by a schedule or not, we are sure you will never say no to an artsy, colourful tabletop calendar to brighten up your desk. For most of us, such calendars are a 'souvenir' that reminds us of someone, for some others, they just have decorative value. And then there are the super organised people for whom a calendar is more of a necessity than anything else. Ananthu Vasudev, a BCom graduate and an active volunteer at Olassa Blind School, Kottayam, wanted to give the regular calendar a bit of a spin. Ananthu, along with a group of like-minded volunteers, collected paintings done by the visually-challenged students of the institution and compiled them into a tabletop calendar, which is now selling like hotcakes!
The volunteers (Pic: Ananthu)
Ananthu, who has been volunteering with the school since 2012, says that the idea for the unique calendar was spontaneous and organic. "To engage the students in activities apart from the usual Braille and verbal communication classes, we have been conducting numerous painting events for the past two years. The paintings done by these children were then saved digitally and we shortlisted 45 paintings to use in the calendar. The 45 paintings were then given to designers who further shortlisted 12 pictures for the calendar," informs the 30-year-old. The calendar is a collective effort of twelve designers who designed a page each. With the design now done, it was up to the group of active volunteers to share its details and the effort invested in it on their respective social media profiles during the second week of January 2020. That's it! Their accounts were soon flooded with orders. Ananthu, who curates these orders, says, "We set a nominal price of '550 for each calendar. Excluding the printing charges, the revenue obtained from selling these calendars will be utilised for the needs of the school." They have received orders for almost 750 calendars to date. "Even a team from Chicago, USA, ordered 500 calendars. The students at Olassa are so excited by this and so, we have decided to send our Chicago buyers a few 'Thank you' cards painted by the students," he shares.
Discussing the involvement of the students, Ananthu informs us that they have always been proactive in participating in such activities. "We used to conduct painting events frequently where volunteers would assist the kids by holding their hands and dipping them in paint, while also helping them draw the picture of their choice - be it a butterfly, a tree or anything they wish to convey through art. Some students would just dip their hands in paint and do hand impressions on paper. However, this 'calendar art' was unique because it enabled the children to mingle with people better as they were ecstatic to be creating a piece of art that others could treasure," says Ananthu who runs a digital marketing and branding agency in Kochi. Painting events are not the only events the school conducts. "We take them to watch movies so that they can experience different audio modulations. Once, Decathlon in Kottayam had invited the students to their showroom. The staff there helped the students do activities like ride a bicycle, skate and so on. This kind of involvement puts our students over the moon," he recollects. In the upcoming academic year, the volunteers are planning to include life skills training like teaching the students to travel by bus, training them to do daily chores, equipping them with some general knowledge, etc.
A glimpse of the calendar
To order these calendars, DM Ananthu in Instagram @manbehindme_