Shop For A Cause! Buy umbrellas from Nethra that are made by blind artisans!

Mishkaat Imrani
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Shop For A Cause! Buy umbrellas from Nethra that are made by blind artisans!

Nethra is the trademark brand of NADE ( National Association of Disabled's Enterprises) and has been selling umbrellas made by blind artisans since 2018.

Founded in 1987 by K.N Radhakrishnan Nair, NADE is an NGO based in Mumbai that provides employment opportunities for the differently-abled. They have been helping such individuals to organize themselves into groups (Co-operatives of the disabled) and take up suitable self-employment avenues. Through its trademark umbrella brand 'Nethra', NADE sells umbrellas that are made by blind artisans, and it's applaudable.

umbrellas made by blind

Though NADE was founded in 1987, Mr. K. N. Radhakrishnan Nair anticipated this condition in the 70s itself and actively associated with the first “Workers Cooperative” of the Blind in Asia, viz. Blind Men’s Industrial Coop. Producers’ Society Ltd. as its Secretary. This society was organized with a membership of around 30 unemployed blind persons at Vikhroli and gave them work of caning the chair.

" During the 1970s there were almost no jobs for the disabled in our country. People and especially the corporate used to sympathize with them during that time. Thus, seeing this in 1972 we formed the first corporative society for the blind in Asia. It slowly grew and led to the formation of 60 other such societies in Mumbai and different districts of Maharashtra by the 1980s, having a membership of over 10,000 disabled persons", Mr. K. N. Radhakrishnan told Local Samosa.

umbrellas made by blind

In 1987 seeing the need for awareness for the disabled and especially the blind, Mr.N.K Radhakrishnan, along with his team, started NADE. " It was formed to particularly help disabled cooperative societies and to set up, manage, create income, and run these societies. It was dedicated to providing self-employment-oriented activities so that they don't wait for the job.", he said.

NADE has been providing livelihood opportunities to disabled people since 1987. From garment making, stationery products, packaging, paper bag manufacturing, and a lot more, this NGO has impacted many lives.

"We have various other activities too. There are mentally challenged individuals who manufacture and make packs, covers, and envelopes. They make the simple items. However, the umbrellas are manufactured by all the categories and not just the blind. But yes, the blind do the assembling job of the frame which is the most important step of umbrella making. The stitching is done by another group of handicapped people, while the packing is done by the mentally challenged.", he further said.

umbrellas made by blind

Each one of them can make 40 umbrellas every day

NADE's office is located inside a BMC school, while the production of these umbrellas happens at Tagore Nagar and Kannamwar Nagar in Vikhroli. Once these individuals are trained, a single-blind person can make up to 40 umbrellas in a day. " We have a young blind girl who makes at least 55 umbrellas. We have kept a basic salary of Rs.200 per day for them. On top of that, we have also kept an incentive of Rs.5 per umbrella assembly. So, if they make 40 umbrellas in a day they get 40 x 5 = Rs.200 every day. This sum is then added to their salary and they end up earning Rs.5,000 more as an incentive.", said Mr. Nair.

NADE works throughout the year and starts promoting the umbrellas from May onwards. The production keeps going on for the year. This year due to the lockdown and the pandemic, they were able to produce only 35,000 umbrellas. However, during usual times, the manufacturing reaches 3 lacs umbrellas per year. " This year we are trying to accommodate more products so that those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 can get some work. We are taking more people and need Rs.5 Cr. We are hopeful that something will happen.", he said.

When they work they become the happiest

As NADE has been actively helping the disabled for years, it is a familiar name among them. " They reach out to us. We have been providing medical and ration kits also, along with multiple welfare activities in various clubs. There are many genuine trusts who are doing great work and so we recommend them if someone needs help and we are unable to do it.", he explained.

NADE currently has 35 blind artisans and after a training of 3 months, they are happily making umbrellas every day.

"They are very proud of themselves. Most of them depend on others, so when they work they become the happiest. It's a great feeling for us as well. They are very quick when it comes to learning.", said Mr.N.K Radhakrishnan.

To help NADE with donations get in touch with them on 91 9137239065.

To order umbrellas online click here.

Also Read: Meet Fashion Designer Gurmeen Shrivastav who has helped 30 underprivileged women earn a livelihood during the pandemic!

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