Blind People’s Association

2019 | Ahmedabad

This classroom project in collaboration with the Blind People’s Association in Ahmedabad was aimed at creating solutions that can have a larger impact on the activities and people of the BPA instead of executing merely aesthetically appealing designs. 
My chosen space was a sub-section of the BPA called the Blind Women’s Association. 

Mapping the space and model making were essential parts of understanding the space and its different elements. I learnt about different tools of space making like building elements, techniques and finishes, colour and texture, flora, fauna, people and their activities. In the initial visits, we understood the various parts of the campus and noticed how everyone gathered at the center, near the trees, to meet with or talk to each other.

Plan of BPA

MDF 1:50 scale model of the BWA building

The Blind Women’s Association aims to work for the upliftment of the visually impaired women. They encourage women with visual imapairment to collaborate with each other and to organize entertainment programmes while trying to facilitate their economic and social development. This also develops their self-confidence and self-respect. 

They partake in two main activities everyday- wick making and cooking snacks. Out of 15 people, only 3 or 4 handle the cooking. The rest make battis (wicks), count them and pack them in covers, ready to be sold. Other small activities like cleaning the room, putting vessels back in the shelves, fetching water and decorating the room are done by all in rotation everyday.

People & activities
Colours & textures

While thinking of concepts, I kept in mind the different stakeholders and some key questions that had come up during initial observation. It was also important to think about the time span of the design and the magnitude of the issue I was dealing with. I identified 5 main directions to think in - adding reference points, changing the feel of the room, identity and self expression and activity generation.

After ideating and conceptualizing, considering the magnitude of problems and the time span of the design, I came up with a relavant design brief that would make the most impact on the lives of the women.

The aim was to impart a skill according to the abilities and interest of each individual, to initiate a sense of entrepreneurship through a series of workshops using inexpensive, easy-to-find material.

I experimented with techniques at different scales using a variety of materials and textile wastes while keeping in mind their strong textural senses and skill of making with hands.

Paper is a cheap, easy to find and is often considered waste after its use is over. It is also found in different types making it an excellent raw material. It can easily be folded, rolled, creased and joint, very similar to the property of textiles. Unlike fabric, it holds its shape and is stiff. Using its properties, I explored different techniques and products that could enable the women from the association to make and sell small products to increase their income while expanding their skills and creating a new identity for themselves.

The workshops opened up a space of creation and created an opportunity for the women to think of different possibilities and work that they could do. It allowed them to come together and learn from each other and figure out the most comfortable way to perceive the things they were making.