The trees are decorated, the wreaths are up, carol singers are belting out the classics (some better than others, might we add)! December is here, and with it, the inevitable feeling of wanting to be on one gigantic month-long holiday.
This year, we wanted to celebrate Christmas a little differently. While many of us are privileged enough to leave behind our stresses and enjoy holidays full of feasts, travel, and fairy-lit nights heightened by Jesus-water, others are less fortunate - and we wanted to find a way to bring a little extra festive cheer into their lives too.
We reached out to Om Creations, a Mumbai-based NGO that works with women with mental disabilities. After a 5-year skills training programme, these women are employed by the Trust to work in their chosen field, including the visual arts, crafts, hospitality and catering; they work regular hours and earn stipends for their efforts. This kind of regular routine also helps integrate the women into a society that too often alienates them or considers them a ‘burden’, ignoring the fact that with professional training and support, we can all be equally productive in our own ways.
Don’t underestimate these women. As part of our #ClausForACause campaign, they crafted us charming stockings in which we delivered all Gouri’s orders to our customers through the month, and part of all online proceeds will now be donated to Om Creations as our way of spreading a little Christmas cheer.
The women we met were bright, energetic, talented, and undeniably hard workers, as we learnt over the time we spent with them. One visit to their production center was all we needed to know we’d made the right choice, and it certainly won’t be our last.
Thank you to all those who enabled our efforts this Christmas - every order made a difference! As we step into 2018, let’s pledge to keep supporting each other, fighting stigmas, and build a more inclusive world. It’s about time.