May 16, 2019
Summer woes are bidding goodbye. Monsoons are round the corner. The rainy
season enters India by hitting Kerala first. God’s Own Country has
recovered from the aftermath caused by the devastating monsoons last year.
This time, the state is prepping up fully to face the monsoon. Umbrellas can
be a blessing, during both summer and rainy seasons.
A group of disabled people in Kerala join together on social media every year
to make umbrellas to beat the summer heat and face the upcoming monsoons.
Umbrella By Differently Abled-Kerala is a group created on
social media with over 50 members now. They make umbrellas from home and sell
it through social media platforms.
Umbrella By Differently Abled is entering their third year. Initially, the
members started it as a WhatsApp group. Soon, they decided to spread the
message far and wide, mainly through social media itself.
Team Umbrella By Differently Abled trains interested people on how to make
umbrellas. They can order for an umbrella making kit by paying
online and it will be delivered to them.
There are many wheelchair users and people with spinal cord injuries who
never had the chance for education. Many are unable to read or write.
Umbrella making was the right job for them. All they have to do is pay
money online and get a kit delivered home. May, June and July are the right
season for us because monsoons are full-fledged in Kerala during that time.
There are many members who do it even after season gets over. We are more
active on Facebook. But recently, we started becoming active on WhatsApp
because many of our members are unaware of how to use Facebook. We provide
them with ample training before they start making the umbrellas on their
own- Team Umbrella By Differently Abled
The umbrellas are priced from Rs 250-300 depending on the design and size.
The organisation gets bulk orders from schools, colleges and NGOs as well.
They courier their umbrellas to all parts of India, and the buyers must pay
additional courier charges.
42-year-old Shaharsha Koya from Varkala became a part of the
group two years back. Koya, who is a wheelchair user, recently bought his
kits and has started making umbrellas for the upcoming rainy season.
“I came to know about Umbrella By Differently Abled through a WhatsApp
group. I have been a part of this venture from the start. I’am unable to do
any other work because I’am a wheelchair user, and this is my only source
of income. Last year, I sold 100-150 umbrellas. A volunteer from Umbrella By
Differently Abled came home and gave me training on how to make umbrellas. I
like doing this job as well. Since I live in a small town, my sales are also
lesser when compared to many others who live in cities”, says Koya.
“I have been making umbrellas for the past five years and am a part of
Umbrella By Differently Abled ever since their start. Last year, I had good
sales and I’am waiting for orders this year. I like doing this because I
can earn on my own”, says Suresh, a wheelchair user from
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