Colorful Minds is sparking a powerful movement to improve the well-being, self-satisfaction, empowerment and independence of creative young people living with disabilities, by bringing their artistic creations to a global market.
Shachi Doshi, the founder of Colorful Minds, had her perspective on giving altered while volunteering at a vocational training center that aided individuals living with cerebral palsy in India. She saw firsthand how the students there created beautiful candleholders, stationary and bookmarks. She couldn’t help but wonder what else could be done to help these impressive young people. How could she spark a powerful movement that improved the well-being, self-satisfaction, empowerment and independence of the people struggling to survive in these communities?
Eager to understand the issues surrounding people with disabilities, she conducted exhaustive research at numerous vocational training centers across the country. Shachi was amazed at the joy, hope and dedication exhibited by these students. One student who really caught her attention was a little girl named Nitya. She told Shachi, “My mother has done so much for me due to my illness. If someone could buy my products, I could have some money. I would be so happy if I could just buy her one beautiful sari (dress).” She heard similar conversations at other centers.
Working with the teachers, she identified many obstacles for these centers to sell these products locally. Many of these organizations had little or no support from the government and the students clearly had no access to global markets. Even after bringing the products back to the United States, Shachi encountered a wide variety of regulatory issues that prevented her from being able to sell these products on the open market. The idea that a potential market existed for these products and that it could help sustain the creators to become financially independent blossomed and she formed Colorful Minds.
Over the last few years, Colorful Minds has served hundreds of people living with disabilities in India and sold thousands of their products. The group is based in the Bay Area and continues to expand its focus and team to aid local communities across the United States to achieve the independence, recognition and inclusion they deserve.
“Even in the most challenging circumstances, I believe we all have the power to seek beauty, gratitude and hope. Starting Colorful Minds and immersing myself in this powerful cause has uplifted my soul in more ways than I could have ever imagined. It is both my privilege and honor to work with these impressive artists. My vision for Colorful Minds is to strengthen our communities, teach our children the importance of helping others, and support those around us to find hope when they are facing adversity. Please join me in spreading this message in your communities and look for ways to get involved.” —Shachi Doshi
“I believe that every person has potential, and all they need is an opportunity to make them shine. I have been able to make this happen with Colorful Minds. I have connected with talented and gifted individuals and learned from their resilience and determination to rise above all adversities to reach their potential. It has been an honor to work with these individuals and pure joy to see our organization grow and make a difference.” —Chandrika Rao