Kochi: The agri therapy scheme of Kudumbasree among differently-abled students has spread to all 30 Buds schools in Ernakulam district in six months of its start, making the district come on top in the scheme in the state. Students in the district are now doing cultivation in 3.5 acres under the scheme and also earn from it.
The latest to start farming is Nedumbassery Buds School which did it on last Monday on the occasion of the International Day of Disabled Persons. There are 18 Buds schools in the district while there are 12 Buds Rehabilitation Centres as well. Altogether 700 students are being taken care of at these centres and schools.
“Students with moderate to mild mental and physical challenges are roped in this agri therapy scheme. The vegetables produced are used for their meals. Two schools in the district have been included in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme for the agri therapy scheme and each student gets from `3000 a month under it. More schools will come under the MGNREGP,” said a Kudumbasree official adding in the next stage the produce will be sold outside.
Teacher Tincy of the Nedumbassery school who has experience in the sector said that differently-abled students get to know about nature through such experiences. “A touch on the sand, water and the vegetation gives a new feeling to the differently abled. The farm is arranged in the surroundings of the school. Plantain, tapioca and vegetables are mainly cultivated,” said Tincy.
Residents associations and local bodies too are involved in the project. However, the differently-abled are not being able to open bank accounts since banks do not allow it which has come as a block in the smooth implementation of the project. Remuneration of the students has to be deposited into accounts. Officials are now exploring ways to surmount this....