What is the first thing you notice?
A merchandise stall? The art? The people running the show?
For us, it is the passion and dedication of Shane D'Mello, the artist from The Owl House. Shane has worked tirelessly over nearly a year with his mentor and it is his effort coupled with unconditional love support and acceptance from his family at home and the community at large that has made this incredible journey possible.
His art has been now transformed into merchandise that people can access and his expression through art and can be a part of everyone's lives. What strikes us most about this amazing young man is how he is consistently motivated by the process of creating his art and not as much by the outcome of it. Shane and his work are testament to the famous Mark Twain when he says...
“Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life”
"I remember being introduced to Shane D'Mello. Shane is an artist I was told excitedly and we have to help him set up his business." says Renuka one of Shane’s Learning Facilitators at The Owl House“.
Just to shed some more light on our star of the moment, Shane, is a fantastic artist who loves exploring colors and geometric shapes in his expression through art. His favorite shape, if you ask us, is definitely triangles and to build on that, we focused on his skill set and interest. Shane is a young man with Autism and has been a participant at The Owl House since August 2018.
And just a year later, here we are with his merchandise out in our community market. At the beginning of June 2019 we ordered 120 umbrellas, 30 t-shirts and 25 clocks imprinted with Shane’s design. Here is a glimpse of his incredible art and daily household/ personal belongings that it turned into.
Merchandise like wall clocks, umbrellas and T-shirts are just the beginning. His talent and his skill set gave others around him including mentors, family members and one of Goa’s biggest brands i.e. Delfino's an opportunity to integrate special needs into the community.
Delfino's Goa, has claimed it spot as a brand for Autism! Shane, his family and The Owl House Team put up a pop up stall at the Delfino's Hymart at Porvorim on two consecutive weekends in July, 2019. The premises was given to us for FREE at prime weekend slots and the sales were unbelievable!
We are overwhelmed with joy when we say, We are sold out!
Delfino's is a company who put their trust in Shane's art and decided to display his merchandise outside their store for people to have direct access.
The heartwarming and humbling feeling that Delfino's could envision Shane's dream and take an initiative to be a part of that yet again restores our faith in our community.
A big thanks to people in our community who saw Shane's hard work, loved his art and supported his business venture. All profits from the sales have been credited to Shane as it rightfully should be so. This personal and professional achievement will only be motivating Shane to continue working even harder.
Working in the field, I have experienced people say how individuals with special needs have challenges with experiencing and expressing empathy and how displaying emotions and making friends is 'not possible' for people on the Autism spectrum. Yet, Shane D'Mello disproved every one of these 'theories' over and over again.
We can tell you of all the beautiful examples of how Shane has built some long term friendships along the way. But to show you one, here is Srutesh Kerkar, another participant at The Owl House who has been supporting Shane with his venture.
Shane and Srutesh have been working together tirelessly to bring to you all what we believe is a piece of art and exclusive merchandise. They worked together as a team and shared the same vision for the pop up. While Shane is the mastermind behind the art, he has his friend's support to verbally express what it means to Shane and build that bridge between you and Shane's vision.
Shane appreciated his friend's support and contributions to his dream. As a way to honor that friendship, Shane offered to share his profits with Srutesh.
In order for Shane, and other individuals with special needs, to continue pursuing their dreams we call out to our community members like yourself.
Here are a few ways you can be a part of our vision going forward:
1. Mentor program- if you would like to work with one of the individuals on their skill set or a small group of individuals.
2. Another way you can support us to continue doing our best is through monetary support. We made it super easy for you to send in your donations
3. Companies and organizations that are looking into becoming even more diverse by supporting people with special needs (with us to ease the transition), here is a link to tell us more about what you are looking for in an employee and would like to be brand for Autism with us.
Feel free to share and/or connect us with people you may know willing to be a part of The Owl House team. We depend on our community to take our dream of inclusion and integration and turn it into reality.