When Shrikrishna Maharishi, an art teacher at Rajasthan School of Arts in Jaipur, received half of his monthly salary amid COVID-19 situation, he was unhappy and refused to accept it. He decided to change his fate. He took a small loan, and along with his friend Roshan Verma, set up a casting unit to manufacture idols of gods, goddesses, and other objects.
With his manufacturing unit, many disabled people have got employment. All of them produce 400 statues altogether in a day. Their products are sold in the wholesale market in Jaipur as well as online. Many of them who are employed in the manufacturing unit now lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
One of the specially-abled employees at the unit, Kalpana Devi, who previously worked at a tailoring outlet shares that most people stopped buying newly stitched clothes, and it was difficult for her to sustain my family.
She was guided by others to join this unit. In the manufacturing unit, she learned how to make idols of gods and goddesses from polyresin. Kalpana, who continues to work with her polio-stricken leg, manages to earn ₹6,000 a month. She is pleased to work for Maharishi and Verma who consider her as their family.
Maharishi says that he has done a range of art projects and always felt that he should make his own range of products, as per The New Indian Express. The lockdown gave him the opportunity to try his hands on this idea. With this initiative, both the friends have got a double opportunity, to earn by themselves and at the same time provide employment to others.
He also adds that they have made their products cost-effective against Chinese products and they have been successful, so far. Roshan says that they wanted to end the monopoly of Chinese products. But for the two the most satisfying thing is that thee fact that they are creating craftsmen out of the disabled by giving them on-job training.
The nature of work at the unit is such that it does not require walking around too much and one can finish one's job sitting in one place. This is helpful for them. They asked all the new joiners to bring some of their friends for work and the total strength of the unit increased to 15.
Most of their employees hail from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, UP, and Maharashtra, and some of them are stricken below the waist. Shrikrishan is an inspiration to many as he has not only turned his life around but has also generated employment in the pandemic period. Among the people employed in the manufacturing unit, 40% are from outside Jaipur.
Having navigated through the corona crisis, both of them have no plans to leave Jaipur and the special unit. Both of them together earn over ₹1.5 lakh per month. They are looking to expand their unit. Both of them said that going ahead even if they expand and grow their business, they will have 50 per cent of jobs reserved for the differently-abled. They want them to live their life with dignity.