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The negative attitudes towards people with disabilities, coupled with institutional and environmental barriers, have resulted in their discrimination and exclusion from society. Individuals with disabilities are confronted with such challenges. To address this issue and mitigate negative perceptions and awareness gaps, the Foundation for Disability Entrepreneurship and Leadership provides information to individuals with disabilities regarding disability awareness and the experiences of those living with disabilities. It acts as a steadfast advocate in fostering understanding and inclusivity.

The DEAL Foundation has organized numerous job training programs aimed at promoting sustainable livelihood opportunities for people with disabilities. Similarly, in collaboration with the Karnataka State Rural Development and Panchayat Raj University in Gadag, the DEAL Foundation has partnered with Self-Help Sanghas from all taluks of Gadag district to conduct training in food product value addition, packaging, sealing, and obtaining FSSAI approval.

All the preparations for this training were carried out by the officers of the DEAL Foundation, with Sagar Virapannavar leading the program with great dedication and effort.

In accordance with the agreement between KSRDPRU and the founders of the DEAL Foundation, this program was organized at the Food Science Department of KSRDPRU on February 28, 2024. It was decided that this training would accommodate a total of 100 individuals with disabilities and women from each taluk. Accordingly, on February 28, 2024, at 10 a.m., women and individuals with disabilities from all taluks, along with the workers of the DEAL Foundation, convened at KSRDPRU. Deepa Madam and Nagaratna Nayka, the coordinators of the training, welcomed them all. They then signed the register, received a book and a pen, and were escorted to the training room in an orderly manner.

The program was presided over by Mr. Nadagouder Sir, the Registrar of KSRDPUR. Additionally, Mr. Abdul Aziz, Assistant Director of KSRDPUR, along with Mr. Girish Dixit and Deepa Madam, actively participated in the event. From the DEAL Foundation, Sagar Virapannavar and Shivkumar Shirol decorated the stage and coordinated the event. All dignitaries on the stage were warmly welcomed and honored with flowers. The essence of the training focused on cereals, symbolized by the lighting of a torch using cereals placed in a pot. Mr. Nadagowda, in his role as President, addressed the program, emphasizing the importance of receiving training to produce nutritious food products and create quality goods, while extending his best wishes for the growth and success of all individuals with disabilities and women. Similarly, Sagar Durkonda, representing the DEAL Foundation, provided an overview of the key aspects of the training.

Afterward, all the participants were escorted to the Food Science and Technology Department for the training session. Deepa Madam and Sunanda began by explaining the process of making maize sev and maize ribbon. Deepa Madam detailed the required ingredients and their respective quantities for preparing maize sev, also highlighting the health benefits of using maize. Sunanda then demonstrated the procedure, guiding the members through each step. Subsequently, the participants were encouraged to try it themselves, with Sunanda providing clear instructions to ensure everyone could comprehend and participate effectively.

Following that, Deepa Madam and Shakuntala instructed us on making chakkali from white corn flour. They began by outlining the required ingredients and their respective quantities, before proceeding to demonstrate the preparation process. Throughout, the staff assisted the trainees, who were encouraged to participate actively. Together, we successfully prepared maize sev and chakkali from white maize flour, with all members eagerly engaging in the training.

After completing the preparation of the ingredients, Preeti explained the packaging process and the necessary labeling requirements. She outlined two types of sheets suitable for packaging. She emphasized the importance of including the shop identification sign, shop name, date of ingredient preparation, expiry date, health benefits, and composition materials on the packet. Preeti provided detailed guidance to all the members on how to correctly label the packaging.

Lunch was provided by the DEAL Foundation in the afternoon. Following the meal, Food Inspector Chetan provided information about the FSSAI registration and accreditation process for food processing. He emphasized that food processors, retailers, and business owners such as milk traders must obtain certification from the government. Specifically, food packers must have the ISI mark from FSSAI; otherwise, they risk fines, imprisonment, and the prohibition of their business activities by the government. Chetan also offered assistance to those needing further information or guidance on obtaining government certification for selling food products.

Then Rangappa Sir, an education expert at RDPU, provided guidance on food product manufacturing, packaging, certification, and most importantly, marketing strategies. He emphasized the importance of understanding market demand and conducting surveys to assess the need for the products. Rangappa Sir advised participants to distribute samples to various shops and gradually lower prices throughout the day to attract customers. He emphasized the importance of step-by-step progress, starting from local markets and gradually expanding to neighboring towns. Rangappa Sir underscored that by taking incremental steps, businesses can establish themselves in the market and command better prices for their products.

At the conclusion of the training, Sagar Virapannavar felicitated all the participants. Afterwards, the members distributed maize sev, corn flour chakkali, and tea as part of the training session’s conclusion.

In this manner, Deal Foundation in association with KS RDPRU conducted a one day training on Food Product Value Addition, Packaging Sealing and FSSA Ay Approval for the differently abled and women. This gave many disabled people and women a chance to lead a self-reliant life. All the trainees who participated expressed their wish that more training should be provided by the Deal Foundation organization and that the Deal Foundation organization would grow at a higher level.

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