Weaving As a tool for Change

By Jayashree Vaitheeswaran

Today is World Disability Day. The theme for this year is:

Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world.” In this direction, we are highlighting one of the skills we build in our Amogh trainees- Hand Loom Weaving.

Amogh works with Adults with Intellectual Disability. We continuously look for projects where these adults can be trained and start engaging in a productive acidity based on their skills.Amogh started loom weaving project for trainees in June 2019. Initially We selected around 8 trainees. Gradually we increased the numbers. Now all our trainees have been doing loom weaving.

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Ashrithaa is very good with art and has a beautiful collection of her drawings. Weaving has opened out one more avenue for Ashrithaa to work on colours but in with different medium!

Harshita  is soft spoken girl and who has learnt weaving after coming to Amogh. She loves to weave for hours together and has learnt to work on all looms.

Rohith is a nonverbal intellectually challenged young adult who has been on training in all the looms. His sitting tolerance has improved and he has now started enjoying weaving. He can continuously weave for hours.

Deepthi is in the Autism spectrum along with anxiety and depression. She has been getting trained in Ashford loom weaving stoles and scarves. Weaving is helping her cope up with her anxiety conditions.

Amit is a young adult with Autism. He speaks in words. He loves to work on colours. He can do Saori and Ashford loom weaving continuously for hours together. He enjoys so much that this has become his favourite activity.

Faraz is an Adult with Autism with a very pleasant nature. He lacks in fine motor skills. Weaving has given him an avenue to learn the skill with his difficulties. It has taken almost 2 years for him to start weaving continuously.

Nitesh is a moderate MR trainee. He is juvenile Diabetic and gets into sudden depression. He now works on the Ashford Loom. He has also has been learning to warp and helps other trainees while training. 

These are few of the stories at Amogh where weaving as an engagement activity has opened out many options.

During COVID times, looms were given to few trainees so that they could work from home. This has opened the options of mother and child combination of working together for trainees with severe disabilities.

Trainees have started making Stoles, Scarves, Shawls, and Belts etc. we have tried different varieties of yarns. We have also developed some products out of the running yarn woven from Saori loom. The outcome has been extremely encouraging.

Weaving promotes fine motor skills and helps trainees learn to create patterns and work through problems they may encounter while weaving. It helps in eye-hand coordination and concentration and improves problem-solving skills. We, at Amogh have observed over the past three years that trainees with autism enjoy weaving as it is an independent activity and trainees with other disabilities like MR, CP and slow learners also love weaving as the colours and patterns they create cheers them up.  

Amogh as a member of Disability NGO Alliance, Karnataka has been the training partner for member NGO’s to get trained in loom weaving.