What’s Cooking?

What’s Cooking?

Don’t be surprised if your olfactory senses get stimulated by the sweet aroma of cakes and cookies the next time you pass by Siddhachal Complex. The source of the sweet smell might be the premises of the Jidd School for Special Children, where about 50 women are learning new cooking and baking recipes.

What's Cooking at Jidd School for Special Children

Since August last year, these women enthusiastically look forward to participating in the cooking workshop held every month. What’s unusual about this workshop is that it is that the participants comprise of parents of the school students and the school’s teachers. Jidd School is run by the Thane Municipal Corporation with the objective of providing education to disabled children from the underprivileged section of the society. Parents of these students are usually very poor and can hardly afford a square meal for the family. The workshop aims to hone their culinary skills and teach them skills such as baking, which they can then use to earn money. Besides, it also provides them with a respite from their monotonous, and often difficult, routines.

It was Sheila Sen Thomas, a social worker from Thane, who first put forth the idea of imparting baking skills to the parents. She even managed to get an Oven-Toaster-Griller (OTG) sponsored by a local NGO and thus the first baking class ensued. Soon not only parents and teachers, but even students began to take interest in the classes. “What started as a one-time session for parents soon became a regular workshop, thanks to the received a terrific response we received,” says Shyamashree Bhonsle, the principal of Jidd School. The parents enjoy the workshop and have been regularly attending throughout the year, reaching the school before time. Today they are taught not just baking, but also a variety of other food items such as dals and puddings. What’s more, everything they are taught can be cooked at home, using normal pressure cookers too. Cakes may take longer to cook at home, but it’s possible. Even so, parents have been told that they are free to use the school’s OTG whenever they wish.

Mark Twain once said, “Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.” At Jidd School, learning co-exists with formal education, not only for special students who receive vocational training along with formal education, but even parents and teachers, who are learning new things.

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