“You never know when you are going to find your life’s purpose, but when it hits you like a storm, there is no looking back from there. I was working as an academic counsellor coaching for UPSC aspirants and that marked my brief stint at Chennai! But owing to a best friend meeting with an accident and getting paralysed from the neck down set me down on the path I didn’t quite see myself taking. While there are many support groups for quadriplegics, there aren’t many that focuses on offering essential services like ‘shopping for clothes/ groceries’ and sometimes even physiotherapy sessions. It so happened one day when I was vacationing at a hill station that seeing a picture of mine, my friend told me that he wished to be there. It was such a simple thing for us – mobility.
But we hardly stop to think or even consider aspects of life that are incredibly hard for disabled folks. So together with him, I started an NGO which focuses on offering essential services for members of the disabled community. As a starter, our first service was offering mobility to buy essential stuff like clothes. As these members are vastly dependent on their parents for even a small deed, they don’t have access to shopping malls or any other avenue to purchase clothes they desired. So with this venture, we send out a volunteer along with the disabled person who would then help them shop. As this van was customised for people with disability, we have ready-made ramps which can be fit into places for easier mobility. Likewise, they can also access our services for going to the doctors or something essential.
Shortly after commencing this, the many other ventures started pouring out. Like offering coaching to become employable in good companies, remedial courses for students who are homeschooled by their parents. The initial struggles were always there with respect to finances and getting the acceptance of people around us. Initially, everything was done from our own pockets but the main challenge was getting the approval of the disabled kid’s parents. Since the government is also offering subsidies, people hardly venture out of their comfort zone.
But we have been largely successful in our endeavours and one of the record milestones for us with respect to our NGO is conducting a tree plantation drive planted by members of the disabled community. Close to 30K saplings were planted and some of the well-known personalities from Mollywood too supported us and spread the word about the campaign.
As a team, we have progressed from two members to a full-fledged organisation and the dream is to normalize disability and bring in more inclusivity to every aspect of our lives. We have led lives largely unperturbed but not everyone has the same privileges as ours, and for that, we need to do our part and fight for inclusivity.”
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