This Pongal, make ‘kolams’ with colours from discarded flowers

This NGO transforms discarded flowers into colours you can make your kolams with, for the Pongal season

Miss S (name changed to protect privacy) had been a difficult patient for 35 years. Dr Kalyanasundaram, honorary CEO of Richmond Fellowship Society in Bengaluru, an NGO that works with people with mental-health issues, had been helping her deal with schizophrenia. Until a year ago, she was still prone to bouts of screaming without any recognisable trigger.

Things changed after the NGO introduced the Green Skilling Project last year, that saw patients make their own kolam powder out of dried flowers. After months of watching from the sidelines, one day, the 58-year-old Miss S came forward from her usual vantage point at the vocation training hall, and said, “Nanu bartini” (“I, too, will join”). “She has been with this project for a year now, and her family says that she is much calmer now,” says Dr Kalyanasundaram.

Miss S’ story, and the story of the Green Skilling Project, won Dr Kalyanasundaram many accolades — even a prize at the British Medical Journal awards of 2018. The project helps people with mental health problems — mainly schizophrenia, but also bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, and those on the autism spectrum — to work through their symptoms with the vocation of kolam powder-making, using only discarded flowers.

It started in 2016, when Craftizen, an organisation that provides crafts skill training and livelihoods for the unempowered, approached the NGO with the idea of producing eco-friendly and natural powder to be used for Holi. Dr Kalyanasundaram figured that working on this project would not only provide his patients with incentive but also engage their faculties.....Read more


Source web page: The hindu


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