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Kerala mother on a mission to provide emotional support for mothers of differently abled children

Priyaja and her daughter

Mothers are real angels and when it comes to taking care of their differently abled children, they display true resilience and compassion. One such mother is Priyaja Madhu, a native of Thrissur in Kerala, who has initiated a project aimed at not only providing emotional support to mothers who are navigating the challenges of raising children with disabilities but also create a socially committed movement by making products which are alternatives to environmentally harmful single-use plastic pens and carry bags.

With her unwavering determination, she has become a beacon of hope for countless parents facing similar emotional journeys. Priyaja could easily get into the shoes of such mothers and understand their emotional stress after her daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy a few weeks after her birth.

Priyaja is now the driving force behind the movement that has become a solace for several mothers of disabled children in Kerala. “It was quite challenging when my daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.  I was not aware of the condition and there was not much support available from anywhere. It took time for me to accept her condition and work towards her rehabilitation,”Priyaja told “Open Digest”.

She enrolled her daughter in a normal school where Anagha did her studies upto Plus Two. But that was not her only aim, Priyaja wanted to engage her daughter in some activities that could keep her happy. Priyaja also got herself enrolled in a special school to train her in other skills.

While looking out for mothers like her who have to take care of disabled children, Priyaja came across a company ‘Handicrops’ on Facebook which was run by a group of disabled people who made paper pens and other stationery products. With their help, Priyaja learned paper pen making.

She, later, organised a paper pen making workshop which was attended by over 62 students along with their parents. As she knew the rollercoaster of emotions, the isolation and the sense of uncertainty that can accompany while taking care of children with disabilities, the parents were given counselling on the importance of remaining mentally active by engaging in work. She started giving them training on paper pen making.

Priyaja soon realised the need to further expand the initiative. She was contacted by a group of mothers from a nearby special school who shared their willingness to join her movement. “We gave them training and our first order of paper pens was delivered a few months later. We distributed the pens to people such as teachers, bank officials who also shared their feedback. Slowly, we started getting orders for customised pens from across India as well as from countries like Dubai, Germany, Australia, Canada and UK,” Priyaja said.

Priyaja supplies the families with raw materials such as refills and paper which are sourced from places like Coimbatore and Mumbai. “Each pen costs Rs 8 and if customised, it is priced at Rs 9. On an average, 200 pens are made by these families per day,” says Priyaja. Though paper pens are still being made by them, the demand has reduced after the pandemic, Priyaja said, adding that they are currently focusing more on production of paper and cloth bags.

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