Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Originally uploaded by dalbhat.
Right now in celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights, SASHA shop is holding an exhibition/sale of exquisitely crafted dokra and terracotta diyas (oil lamps), hand painted candles, diyas, etc. If you happen to stop in when some of the candles are lit and flickering, you'll catch the spirit of this warming celebration.

There are two producer organizations in particular that stand out for me. SILENCE is a certified fair trade self-help movement for those who can neither speak nor hear, only visualize, and others who cannot go anywhere, except in their imaginations -- and yet who aspire towards self-sufficiency and acceptance as contributing members of society.

ASHA NIKETAN runs a workshop which creates a variety of candles in porcelain or terracotta containers, tie and dye articles, greeting cards and other items. In the open spaces around the Asha Niketan buildings, community members are also involved in horticulture. The workshop earns some revenue from the sale of these products which supplements donations for the L'Arche International community established in 1973 to create a home atmosphere for mentally challenged people.

The good work being done by so many here in Kolkata constantly inspires and amazes me.

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