After successful Training in the Vocational Training Centre for the Intellectually Challenged [MR] Adults, the next obvious step in empowerment, would be employment either Self Employment or Open Employment. But, in view of the inherent disability, all may not be able to take up self-employment and sustain it for long or bag jobs in the open market and hold on to the jobs for a long duration. The next best choice is "Sheltered Workshop", which in the first instance takes care of their special needs and abilities and in the long run grooms them for the other two higher steps.
In this set up, the Intellectually Challenged Persons [Mentally Handicapped Persons] whose attention span is very low and fragile, will be able to continue to utilize the living skills [Job/ Vocation] in which they have been trained; otherwise, while waiting for a suitable job, by efflux of time, they tend to forget the skills - training already learnt, with the result the long and persevering training imparted in VTC Stage will go waste.
To ensure that optimum benefit is obtained, while selecting the beneficiaries and the Trade/Jobs under taken, it is of utmost importance that care is taken to assess the potential viability of marketing the products/ services of the Work Shops. It follows that that Projects of this kind should establish backup feeder linkage from behind [like establishments that impart similar training and serve as a feeding ground for the workshop on the one hand] and forward linkages [those that would absorb the goods and services from these centers and thereby sustain their activity in an economically viable manner]. It is, therefore, desirable that the beneficiaries of the Sheltered Workshop are those trained through the Special Schools & then through the Vocational Training Centres for the Disabled.
The above all-important "hind-feed" & forward linkages, have been ensured by Lekhadeep, which is running a Special School, with Pre-Vocational Training, followed by the all-important intermediary step of Vocational Training and logical empowerment follow-up of "Sheltered Workshop".
To avoid the cascading & overlapping effect of expenditure, the existing administrative staff strength of VTC is, to the extent possible, catering to the needs of the Sheltered Workshop.
Considered from all these points, Sheltered Worhshop of Lekhadeep is serving a very useful & much needed link - service on the road to self - reliance & empowerment (to the extent their potential permits).