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In our society, the differently-abled and mentally challenged citizens find it extremely difficult to be able to make a living and live a life of dignity. These individuals do need work and subsequently the advantages of work. However, prejudices towards them have caused them to be treated as surplus citizens incapable of being contributing and productive members of society.
This is where Diya Foundation makes its mark. Started in 1999, Diya Foundation is a vocational training center which provides training and, more importantly, employment to adults who are mentally challenged as well as others who are differently-abled physically.
Sarah Santamaria, founder of Diya Foundation, shares her insights with us:
TBI: How was Diya Foundation started and what was the motivation behind it? Sarah: Diya Foundation was started 10 years ago in March, 1999. I met several parents of differently abled children who expressed their helplessness and despair in trying to figure out what to do with their child after he/she turned 14 years. Very often schools would ask these parents to take their child out of the school programme because the school could no longer cater to the needs of the child. These parents were at a loss as to what to do with an adult child now full time at home and this is what motivated me to start Diya Foundation. Diya Foundation is the bridge to smoothen the transition from school to work.
TBI: How many people does Diya currently employ and help out? Sarah: Diya currently employs 4 physically challenged staff, 6 abled staff and 21 mentally challenged trainees.
TBI: Is there any way our readers can contribute or help you out? Sarah: Yes, we are a small organisation but very committed to the cause of differently abled adults. While making our trainees economically self sufficient, we also have long term plans to set up a residential care facility for the differently abled. We seek support in various forms – patronising the products our trainees make which helps them earn a stipend, donations in cash to support our ongoing projects, voluntary help to teach our trainees income generating skills and also as much support as possible to spread awareness about Diya Foundation and the work we do.
This Diwali, Diya Foundation urges you to add sparkle to your life by doing more. They have a range of delicious chocolates and colourful diyas on sale for individuals and corporates. Handcrafted using imported cocoa, the Chocolyn chocolates are available in a range of flavours and along with the diyas, make for a delightful gift. A gift that will give you double the joy because of the cause it supports.
The products can be custom wrapped to suit varied preferences and budgets. For more information and to place your orders, contact Diya Foundation here: