It's 12 30 pm, their stomachs rumble as the aroma of today's lunch wafts into our classroom; which originated in the kitchen - under the stairs.
The kitchen staff have worked tirelessly for the last couple of hours crouched in any room that the stairs have left them , careful to avoid hitting their heads each time they stand up to grab some masala or a ladle. It is a simple menu - rice and sambar, for about 50 kids and about 10 staff members but take as much care as though preparing a feast for their loved ones at home.
Mr. C.M.Kathavarayan, the founder and force behind this institute, is up in his office and knows that delicious lunch for his beloved kids is about 3 whistles away and this is yet another day they will be going home fed, satisfied and smiling. He is not happy, his faced creased with worry. Today like every other day the kids will be eating their lunch in the workshop. The same workshop where they paint diyas, make chalk pieces, candles and paper bags. Chalk pieces made recently are drying on shelf next to the door, the paper cutting machine occupies almost 1/4 the room, the candle and chalk making stations are right behind the dining table, half the table is loaded with raw materials or finished goods. Kids here are special and have their own mannerisms at the table, some want to eat in silence and solitude, other with their nonstop chatter, some need to be fed and will have their care takers hovering around them. The room can hardly occupy 10 people and is dark and dingy with a sheet roof that leaks at places when it pours. The lunch is healthy, but the lunch table is not.
More about WARDS
WARDS- Welfare Association for Rehabilitation of Disabled and Society, located in Jeevan Bhima Nagar, Bangalore, is a non-profit organization, providing support to individuals suffering from autism, cerebral palsy, multiple disabilities and mental retardation, identified from various slums in Bangalore. You can know more about this institute here:
Mr. C.M.Kathavarayan, a visually impaired person, started WARDS in the year 1990. His desire to do more for the physically challenged, CP and autistic individuals led him to take voluntary retirement in the year 2000 after serving 25 years teaching the visually impaired and start WARDS. Then there was no turning back, he has struggled and strived every day over the last 25 years to bring this institute to where it stands today. He is able to provide lunch for all the kids enrolled at WARDS but the environment in which they eat is a cause of worry.
He has envisioned a building for kitchen and a lunch hall to provide a clean and safe area for the kids. The total cost of this has been estimated to be about15 lakhs INR and they are hoping to collect at least 10 lakhs INR before they can go ahead to make this dream a reality.
Our Goal and How you can help
We are here to help this vision become a reality. We have worked closely with the organization and the kids and have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and want to share the joy of being a part of this wonderful family with you.
"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it" - Edith Wharton
Kindly spread the word.