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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Building blocks for brighter futures

The Srishti Foundation makes a huge difference to Munnar’s families with special needs…

By Sebinster Francis
Tour Guide

In the past, the Srishti Foundation was never really on the tourist radar. Even now, out of all Munnar’s visitors, only a handful of in-the-know guests enter its doors. The organisation was started in 1991 by the wives of TATA (India’s largest conglomerate), who recognised the distinct lack of resources and schools for families with special needs children. Without the appropriate childcare, this meant one less working hand in the tea plantations which in turn would have a negative impact on the quality of that family’s life. The Srishti Foundation I’m pleased to say has made a huge difference to those families.

On an excursion here, you’ll learn that Srishti is comprised of eight welfare units including its DARE school for children with special needs as well as numerous vocational training units covering sustainable craft projects from wood-free paper making to textile design. Did you know you can make paper out of pineapple, eucalyptus leaf and even elephant dung? – there’s plenty here as elephants are always meandering about the tea fields. And it’s beautifully done, sometimes using flowers handpicked from the gardens. The textile production is similarly amazing using only natural dye. I’ve even seen some of the designs in London Fashion Week. Since the foundation is pretty well established, in the past it has invited experts from northern India to offer training in signature block printing. The Dye House even welcomed revered textile artist and professor, Yoshiko Wada, to instruct them in shibori tie-dyeing.

Elsewhere you can wander the gardens growing strawberries, passion fruit, cauliflower and cabbage, or perhaps buy a sweet treat from the bakery whose chefs with hearing and speech impairments were trained by the Corporate Executive Chef of Taj Business Hotels. It’s a success story that’s been largely unsung. But now we feel we need to share it.


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Alfred & Sebinster Francis

Based in Munnar, Kerala, Sebinster is a naturalist and tour guide in India. Sebinster enjoys sharing the cultural aspects of India with his guests. His main passion is photography and he is a successful wildlife and landscape photographer, who is featured in books written by Kerala Tourism and also on Nat Geo’s social media platforms, to name a few of his collaborations.  
Sebinster Francis, Photographic Tour Guide

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