Sowing seeds of enthusiasm

Sowing seeds of enthusiasm

My ability is stronger than my disability’. This quote by Theresa Sheridan is amply evident at the ‘Annual Plant Fair’ which is being organised by The Association of People with Disability (APD) at their Horticulture Training Unit in Hennur.

The sight at the unit is rather soothing to the eyes. A variety of exotic flowers, medicinal, herbal and ornamental plants, all produced and arranged by underprivileged disabled individuals, welcome you. And the smiles of these learners only widen as they see visitors coming to encourage them.

“We have two programmes — a Horticulture Specialist Training for disabled people from a rural background with little or no education, and a Horticulture Supervisor Training for those who have passed SSLC. Around 3,000 underprivileged disabled people have already been trained here and empowered to provide for themselves,” says Raju, senior executive, Horticulture Training programme.

With the aim to help them find employment, those enrolled are trained for six months following which there is a two-month internship. “Gardening is in great demand in Bengaluru and these people are able to get jobs with corporate companies, landscape firms and nurseries. A good job and a decent salary help rekindle their self-confidence,” details Raju adding, “They are also provided food and accommodation during the training programme.”

The plant fair has around 350 to 400 varieties of plants. One can find medicinal and herbal plants like lemongrass, sage, rosemary, mint and even insulin (for diabetes). Then there are ornamental ones like bonsai, cactus, rose, petunia, marigold and chrysanthemums. They also have flowering seeds, pots, tools and organic manure for sale.

“The trainees have produced all these plants. Filling bags with manure and mud, potting, sowing seedlings, propagation through cuttings and watering — all these things are covered in the specialist training. There are theory as well as practical sessions. They get to learn the names and other specifics of different plants so it’s an enriching experience. Those in the supervisor training are also taught editing, billing and stock checking,” states Raju. The plants and other produce are even sent to APD centres in Jeevan Bhima Nagar and Lingarajapuram for sale.

Puttaraju from Chamarajanagar, who has a disability in the leg, is happy to have learnt more about a variety of plants. “I also learnt how to arrange and decorate them. It makes me feel very accomplished. I want to work as a garden supervisor and become independent,” he said.

Manjunath, another trainee from Bagalkot district, expressed, “I want to become a model to all those with disabilities and tell them that nothing can come in the way of their dreams if they determine to win.”

The Plant Fair is on till February 15 at The Association of People with Disability (APD), The Horticulture Training Unit, near Dattatreya Temple, Doddagubbi Road, Kothanur Post, Kyalasanahalli. A terrace gardening workshop is being organised today from 10 am to 11 am.

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