Grand Workmanship by Our Clients at Kovalam VT Unit

Clients displaying the wire baskets made by them
Clients displaying the wire baskets made by them

This astounding display of wire baskets speaks a lot about our clients’ determination  and focus.  All aimed at fulfilling an order for 200 baskets before the 6th of February, 2014.  Mrs. Sashi Naidu, Vocational Training Head at The Banyan’s Health Centre in Kovalam, shares with us the trials and challenges and how the clients made it happen… way ahead of the deadline!

“I would first like to say thanks to Mrinalini for giving us an opportunity.  Her novel order for the 200 plastic baskets  came at a time when we needed it the most.  This turned out to be a pilot study of whether our clients are capable of coming together to fulfil a large order…and they did!  200 baskets in just 22 days!

200 wire baskets made by the clients at Kovalam
200 wire baskets made by the clients at Kovalam

We had to be very firm with the residents and health care workers regarding timings, working hours, no sleeping in daytime near reception areas and corridors, no roaming on the roads.  As the training period was over no more incentives would be given, and salaries will be given strictly on finished products only based on the client’s capacity.  Any more breaking windows or destroying The Banyan’s properties or beating co residents and staff will lessen their salaries, etc.

Clients weaving wire baskets
Clients weaving wire baskets

Of course the first 2 to 3 days there was strong resistance but surprisingly they all came on line.  You can’t force people because. unlike manual work like sweeping and washing clothes, if you make a mistake in weaving you can’t make a basket that can be used.  This made them systematic and focused on their work and they finished their assigned jobs well before the February 6th deadline

Wire baskets

Our clients from the Protected Community and the Health Centre together made 140 baskets, clients from Daycare made 30, the people from Oragadam village made 40( within 15 days ) and those from Sembakkam made 40 baskets.

Here are some interesting facts:

Some clients took part just for pleasure like Vijay Baskar who is usually eager to leave by 3 clock  but stayed till 5.30.


Some clients who never completed any skilled product so far made 6 baskets (Mithu).

Some who were always frowning, crying and beating others stopped this behaviour and behaved maturely (Gowri Shakila)


Some who used to shout  and break glass windows when they don’t get what they want, actually helped others to finish their products by making basket handles (Danam and others) – 500handles.


Some like Suseela Devi who are old also took part in simple tasks like winding the wires on to the rods (we needed 200 rods)


In Day Care, 16 people took part in this month and this activity supplemented their income (Mathar Bee made Rs. 1000)

Some day client finishes her day’s work at lab and comes here in the afternoon and earned Rs. 700 (Poongodi)

PC client Poongodi  who was very much irritated when trying to learn this skill, now happily shows me her finished baskets everyday.

Some clients, like Muthamma and other day clients  took the task of cutting plastic wires – ninety thousand!!

Even our little boy Suleman completed one basket which made him  happy.

There are plenty of nice facts like this but I have mentioned only a few.  While organising, watching, supervising and observing them, now i can confidently say that the VT Unit can fulfil bulk orders too.


If anybody can help us put together a good strategy for getting bulk orders like this to help our clients’ soul and mind  to adopt this pattern of working hard on weekdays with recreational activities on Saturdays and Sundays, it will enable them to sustain their jobs or success in Self Help Group ventures and in eliminating poverty level to a certain extent.”

If you would like to contribute in any way to ventures like this or if you are in a position to facilitate bulk orders for our vocational training unit, please contact Mrs. Sashi Naidu +91-8056163711 |


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