An initiative of I Care Learning School, a school engaged with educating children of special needs, Feet Me Up helps these people become economically self-sufficient through hand-painting shoe and accessories. It was founded by physiotherapist Dr Deepshikha Manocha (DM) and Prasannta Arora (PA), a Psychologist in 2018. “Our motto is Let’s make dependent independent,” says Dr Manocha. In a free-wheeling interview with Life & More, she tells us more:
Tell us about I Care Learning School?
DM: I Care Learning School was started in 2012, there were only five students in the beginning. Now, we have 25 students. We provide therapeutic intervention to children with special needs and train them vocationally so that they can earn their livelihoods.
How challenging is it to teach/ educate kids with special needs.
PA: It is a very challenging job. They take 10 times more effort and time as compared to normal children. But once you build a rapport with them, they can be managed easily with love and affection
What all creative skills do you impart these kids?
DM: We teach them how to creatively paint shoes and apparels. We also teach them how to hand curate accessories, initiate and dispatch an order. This apart, they run a cafe where they make yummy snacks, including pasta, pizza, garlic bread etc. They are even taught to make paper bags, candles, chocolates, cakes, Sagan envelopes etc.
How many children are involved in painting shoes?
PA: Presently 5-7 children are involved in painting shoes.
How many shoes can one child hand paint, and how much time does it take to complete one shoe.
PA: It depends on how complicated the design is. Simpler designs take 1-2 hours to be completed.
What is the buyers’ response to these shoes?
DM: The buyers are usually happy with the quirky designs they get on the shoes and their comfort level is also good. We keep on getting nice feedbacks from the buyers who write to us on Instagram or mailers.
What’s the price range of these shoes? How do you share the revenue with kids?
DM: Price range varies from 1099 to 1699/-. The older kids (16 years and above) get salary from us and the younger kids (between 12 to 16years) get scholarships in the form of book sets or complimentary classes. We are also working towards making fixed deposits for them with the parents, which they can use when they are ready to take their own decisions.
What are your future plans?
PA: We intend to take these products on every marketplace. We are already on amazon and flipkart, an now plan to go international via ebay or some other portal. We want this venture to be run by uniquely abled. For us, this brand is not a legacy which would go on to our children or our generations. This is and will be for all uniquely-abled people who work with us.