In April this year, 25-year-old J Suresh Reddy received a birthday card that made him extremely happy. It was, after all, the first birthday card he had ever received. “I will keep this with me always. I now no longer have to rely on anyone to read me my cards,” says the student from IIM Kolkata.
Reddy is visually challenged and the card he received was in Braille.
Reddy’s Braille card is the fruit of Bangalore-based Prarthana Unkalkar Kaul’s hard work and initiative. Kaul, a social worker, started a gifting store for the differently-abled, with her husband Prateek, in May this year. The store’s motto is inclusiveness in gifting and their products are designed for the visually challenged and hearing impaired.
The idea for the store came after an event Kaul had attended with her husband. “The event was for visually challenged children and we found ourselves struggling to find gifts for them,” she says. Kaul, who had worked with the differently-abled before, found herself thinking about how to solve this dilemma and hit on the idea of starting a store for inclusive gifting, GiftAbled.
It’s online store is still in the teething stage — their website is being worked upon, they don’t have a systematic payment gateway in place and their products are limited.
Their gifts, however, have found many fans. Volunteers and friends write of how the gifts bring a smile to the recipients’ faces. One of the more touching stories comes from Neethu George, Kaul’s friend. George is hearing challenged and has a visually challenged friend with whom she used to converse via email, SMS and a translator. On her birthday this year, George found a new way of communicating, via a card in Braille.
GiftAbled currently stocks Kaul’s handmade greeting cards in Braille with personalised messages, talking watches, a hearing ball (that has a rattle), drawing boards, chess boards with grooves and special chess pieces and abacuses. The learning oriented gifts include different slates and styluses, walking canes, Braille sheets, Hindi and English alphabet trainer plates and Braille word-forming blocks.
Many of the gifts are brought from Worth Trust, an NGO which stocks products for the differently-abled, while some are made by Kaul with a team of volunteers.
Kaul hopes that in the future, more and more gifting and general stores will start getting inclusive by stocking
products for the differently-abled. As of now, they have one success story Sapna Book House which has some of GiftAbled’s products.
This Joy of Giving week (October 2-8), GiftAbled is organising two events — a book and stationary drive and a visit to Fun World for the visually impaired. Those interested in assisting in the events or for GiftAbled can email