Society

And Jolly shows the way

Wheelchair user Jolly Joseph employs the physically challenged in his venture Kriya that creates works of art in wood

And Jolly shows the way

Jolly Joseph rolls his wheelchair into the small room at the end of his rectangular workshop; it is difficult to talk above the noise of the CNC cutting machine in the hall, a giant contraption that cuts wood.

Half of the small room is occupied by a huge laser printing machine. This is Takshan Creatives, which Jolly fondly refers to as ‘Kriya’ and it is here that a small, but efficient group of people design and create art.

Kriya is a dream come true for Jolly, who always wanted to start his own design enterprise. A debilitating spinal injury that left him paralysed slowed down life and he struggled with low motivation.

A few years went by and Jolly gradually came to terms with his disability. Since he did not want to depend on his ageing parents, he moved to Swasraya Training and Rehabilitation Centre at Vettikkal near Mulanthuruthy, which helps people living with paraplegia, and met others who were also dealing with their reality.

A graphic designer, Jolly was working in a firm in Kochi which dealt with digital signage applications, before he was diagnosed with a spinal tumour. A friend introduced him to S S Jayasankar, who runs Oorjja, an “ecosystem” that facilitates training and employment opportunities to students with hearing impairment. Jayasankar took him on board and he started teaching graphic designing at Oorjja.

And Jolly shows the way

“I was apprehensive at first; I didn’t know if I would be able to communicate with the students, but gradually I found it inspiring,” Jolly says.

Jolly’s association with Jayasankar gradually paved the way for Kriya. “I was not so sure if I would be able to do something on my own. And once I found the mental courage, I wanted to start the company here in Mulanthuruthy, on the campus of Swasraya, so people like me could get an opportunity to work.”

Umesh MP, who holds an ITI diploma in carpentry, is part of Jolly’s team. A wheelchair user himself, Umesh says his job gives him creative satisfaction. “When I finish a piece of work given to me, it fills me up with a sense of achievement. It is a skilled job, and each step along the way is important,” he says.

Kriya was formally inaugurated in May and has been receiving a steady stream of orders. Mementos, wall art, promotional and corporate gifts are some of the works they specialise in. A giant wooden filigree tree adorns the wall of Jolly’s office space at the entrance. “While it brightens up the space, it also is a sample for clients to understand our work.” Smaller artefacts, key chains, corporate logos and such form the rest of their repertoire. Kriya takes orders for customised gifts too.

And Jolly shows the way

The team of six, headed by Jolly, includes two other wheelchair users and one hearing impaired person. Getting the workspace up and running was challenging; with logistical support from friends, it took about a year procuring machines, tools and materials.

While the designing is done on the desktop, the wood is cut using machines. Laser engraving is also done by the machines. Polishing and finishing the products is done at a large shed outside the workshop-cum-office.

Jolly is happy with the way work is progressing; though he needs to rest after work hours, he finds himself working late. “It is exciting to be able to do something useful again. So work keeps me happy.”

And Jolly shows the way

As a next step, Kriya is looking at expanding online and retail on e-commerce sites. “In the mean time, we also hope to network with more people living with disabilities, who have the skill and can sit at home and finish the work,” Jolly says, adding “We hope to be able to inspire more people and tell them that they could do something for themselves too.”

Jolly can be contacted at 9567064488. (Or visit www.facebook.com/Takshan-creatives).

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:07:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/jolly-joseph-employs-people-with-disabilities-in-his-creative-venture-kriya/article29700016.ece

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