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Relinquishing Despair to become a Self-Sufficient Man

I am Bhangesh and one question that is carved in my memory as far back I can recall is asking God as to why he chose me to be this way. My mother during her pregnancy was working in field. Her body had suppleness, and everyone believes it was the cause of my impairment. With 90% orthopaedic impairment, I was no more than a burden for my parents and elder brother.

My impairment could not stop me from my quest of getting education and I have completed 10th standard.  Yet I was living in a despair due to my disability as I was not involved in any of the social gatherings. In fact, people did not even talk to me as it was believed that I will bring bad omen if I attend any social gathering. The social stigma did not only rest with me, even my parents and brother had to face a lot of social neglect due to my disability. This in many ways reflected in their behaviour towards me as they also could not cope with the anguish of having a disabled child.

With no income, social neglect and a burden on family, Naman came as my only ray of hope in last 27 years. Through Naman, I could obtain a medical certificate of my disability which was a precondition for accessing government welfare schemes. As a result, I am now receiving disability pension. In addition, Naman also provided me with a loan of Rs. 40,000 which gave me courage to open a small grocery store.

Now with an income of my own, I am a changed man, now filled with confidence, hope and optimism. What I realised that if I don’t believe in myself, no one else will. Today, I am married and with a support of Rs. 1 lac from government as an incentive for me to start my family, I bought a sewing machine for my wife and she is also an independent contributing member of our family. From living a life of seclusion to earning a family income of around Rs. 1 lac a year as a couple, this phase of my life is like a dream!

I always knew that with or without disability, your social status will improve once your economic status improves. The same community which neglected me for 27 years is accepting me as one of them with open arms, invites me to their functions, and even come to me seeking financial help. I am confident that this is just the beginning, and I hope that as my work grows we’ll have more resources for our family. I want my shop to grow three times, my wife’s tailoring work to grow as well so that not only we can help ourselves but support others with limited means.

With my life transforming into an independent individual, what I want is that every person with disability in my community should grow up to be an independent person like me. I had to wait for 27 yrs but I will do everything possible to support every person with disability to come up in life with all means and resources that I have.