This is the life of a Person with Disability in India….having an unsafe ride on the road.
forced to ride low….what else can you think off ?
Two days back I had a discussion with our Community Animators about development. They all are from the target villages and have been working with us since 1 . 5 years. I asked them to write what do they mean by development and when can they call a particular community developed? And I told them to discuss in the group and make a final presentation.
What came out from the discussion was unbelievable for me at that time…. They said a community can be called developed when it has following aspects:
Education for all, enjoy good health, organised, have capacity to solve own problems.
Stewards of natural and physical resources, Have a monitoring system, participatory decision making.
Have trust, Leadership, Respectful, Have a vision, hard working, Honesty, Take responsibility and
Selfless (concern for others)
Food is secure for all, Proud of their own community and themselves
Maintain cultural values and give importance to community gatherings.
Active Participation, Equal opportunity for marginalised people, continuously growing and Learning
Aware about own problems and weaknesses, Able to take action and accepts changes
Lives with Dignity
I was amazed to hear this from them as I had never expected this response from our field staffs.
When I asked what they think about physical development of the community? They said if a community has all these characteristics, automatically the physical/infrastructure development will occur. But if it has all natural and physical resources available but don’t have above characteristics then it will fail to manage the resources it has..and it will never prosper…
A Change from within can bring a huge change outside….That’s what it is…
This is a huge change in their perspective from the time they have joined…I am glad as the project is able to bring some beautiful changes in the lives of our field staffs whom we see as future leaders in their own communities ….
They have not been taught all this but they have learnt it from their experience….A beautiful transformation has happened within them and I hope this will bring transformation in their sphere of influence too….
Thank You… God bless…
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Today was another wonderful experience during my field visit to Tarwadih, one of our target villages’, part of the Community Based Rehabilitation Project. Our Physiotherapist and I had a meeting with parents of Children with Disabilities in the village. The challenging task was to get people to come together. But I was surprised to see most of the parents had turned up obviously with a lot of expectations.
The meeting was one of the firsts to facilitate a caregiver’s support group in the village. The meeting started and the discussions trickled into the difficulties faced by parents. As the parents shared, there were issues that we had heard before, worry about the future, physical condition of children, lack of awareness and many more. The one sharing that caught my attention was from a mother; her daughter Fareen is 12 and is like any other girl her age, playful and yet shy and smiles sweetly as her mother mentions that her daughter has Speech and Hearing Impairment. She continues very softly that her main concern about her daughter was that she continuously got into fights with other kids, her siblings, the neighbourhood children, children at school and this affected her relationship with other families. This was an unusual sharing and I kept wondering until it struck me that, the daughter couldn’t communicate and probably got frustrated and hence the fights. I can’t imagine being unable to talk, express what’s on my mind. The place I live has very bad cell phone signal and every day I hear almost one person complaining about it including myself. The inability to communicate cripples our lives and frustrates us. But unable to communicate for life… that’s unimaginable. I could only sympathise with her. Of course I would never know how she really feels.
Although I had come across many people with speech and hearing impairment, this affected me because they had come to the meeting with a lot of expectations. But since we do not have the expertise,there is little we can do for her physical condition or her schooling and more importantly her communication.
Circumstances and opportunities break or make people. Many people with Speech and Hearing Impairments learn to communicate and continue to live their lives without any barriers. . But for children like Fareen continue to be in unfavourable circumstances hidden in remote villages struggling to meet their basic needs and lack even the most basic opportunities. So the big question arises, do we just give up? Her mother didn’t. She came to us with a glint of hope in her eyes. It’s her hope that gives us the courage to look beyond and find ways to break through the helpless silence.
I am not exactly sure how much we will be able to do but hope that whatever we do would make a difference in Fareen’s life and many, many more children like her.
May God Bless…..
Champi is an interior village in our project area. I had previously mentioned about the community in one of my old posts. The community has a brilliant indigenous expertise on making baskets and other local bamboo products but they earn very little money from this. We have been working with this community for two year under the Community Based Adaptation project. We had been wondering how we could help this community in taking their indigenous skill to a greater height, which would give them and their children a better future and help build an empowered community.
In the process of searching for an opportunity we have been able to network with an organisation called Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF). This organisation implements a government programme where they train rural poor in making craft items out of bamboo and also in marketing the products. Now, they have agreed to train 30 villagers (both men and women) from the village. We had a couple of meetings with villagers regarding this and some villagers seem to be very excited about the programme. 30 persons have given their name so far for the training but some are not very sure whether they will be able to give full 30 days for the training. We are trying our best to mobilize and motivate them to make use of this opportunity and are optimistic that the community may take the appropriate decision at this juncture. We are hopeful that the training would start soon after few necessary procedures.
This appears to be an amazing opportunity for villagers as they can earn income in their own village. This will definitely improve their socio-economic condition but most importantly would stop the unskilled migration which has been a bigger problem in this region. God willing, if this succeeds it can also be a model for many other neighboring villages.
Some of the photographs of the event:
Man is a social animal. Men and women can’t live to their fullest without society. People who live as part of society have always better life than people who live in isolation. The person who roams around without having anything, a person who begs in the street and doesn’t have a home and a family and are not part of a society, don’t enjoy life the way people who have a family and society do.
Human beings without society have low quality of life which includes physical Health, psychological well being, social relationships and environment. Low quality of life hinders a person to even dream big. Without health which includes all these domains a person can’t be productive, creative, hard working and persistent which are so important to prosper in life in every way. So if you are successful today or you have achieved what you dreamt to achieve, it is because you had better social and environmental circumstances. It is to them who say they are self made and master of their own fate to think that without the society and all these privileges where would you be today.
Since childhood parents, siblings and other caretakers play a vital role in making you the person you are today. They play a major role in building your life, then come teachers and friends. All the socialization process helped build the person you are today. Even your thoughts, ideas, creativity and character were shaped by the process and made you the person available for many and for the wonderful work you are doing today. If you want to study in an institute or for a job, you need a recommendation letter. Sometimes to fulfill a little dream you need so many people. A small recommendation letter would stop your admission to an institute, today which has given you a strong foundation to your future. A small degree of change can make a great deviation from your aim at the end. Therefore, a small help can have a big impact in your life and can make a big difference. So it is to think now whether you are the master of your own destiny or so many people have made contributions to it. It is excellent to have self confidence and positive attitude about yourself and about your success, but it is noble to share credits with people who made your journey beautiful in reaching to your destiny.
Your life depends infinitely upon the family you were born into. Your birth itself determines your destiny. I was blessed to born in a family and in a society where there were better options, resources and opportunities to get proper education, exposure, nutrition and hygiene etc. If I was born in a place where there were no options, opportunities and resources, where would I be today? The behavior of People, who involve in anti social activities, can be attributed to the kind of community they grew up in and the kind of exposure they had in their valuable childhood. So we are what we are because of the opportunity that we had, not because of we built our life by ourselves alone. That is true that if one is successful s/he has utilized and worked upon the opportunity through hard work, practice and patience but it would not be possible if one would not have the opportunity and options. The concept ‘I am the master of my own destiny’ signifies that whoever is not successful it is because of their own fault and they are only responsible for their condition.
I work alongside a marginalized community, and have seen them, I have listened to them closely and observed and found, in every problem there is an external factor responsible than they themselves. I have seen many who work hard, even more than many of us but there living standard is much poorer than us. So I found they are poor because they have fewer options, lack of information and lack of resources.
Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision USA writes in his book ‘The Hole in our Gospel:
“What I have discovered in my travels to more than forty countries with World Vision is that almost all the poverty is fundamentally the result of a lack of options. It is not that the poor are lazier, less intelligent, or unwilling to make efforts to change their condition. Rather, it is that they are trapped by circumstances beyond their power to change. I have found that the poorer people are, the harder they work, usually. In fact, their daily labor is more strenuous than most of us could tolerate. It is their circumstances that conspire to prevent their hard work from bearing fruit”.
Yes, there are people in spite of tremendous opportunity have not done great because of their laziness, lack of zeal but there are millions who did not have the option and the opportunity. But whoever is successful today it is because of opportunities, their surroundings, and the socialization process and off course their hard work.
Former US president Bill Clinton once said: “During our lives we had all been presented with opportunities of one kind or another, and second, that we had worked hard to capitalize on those opportunities and that our hard work had paid off”. – The hole in our Gospel
The idea of ‘ I am the master of my own destiny’ is not possible with human beings because we are made in such a way that we need family and society to live with, only then we can be the person of our dream. First, we should be thankful to the GOD Almighty and then people around us, opportunities, options then we, our hard work that paid off. Therefore, we are a shareholder of our success and the master is GOD alone who put everything in the right place for us to be the person we are today.
Who is the master of his/her own destiny??? Not a single one….
This is not to discourage anyone but to help to be thankful in life and maintain right amount of confidence, and to keep one’s cup ready to be filled at anytime. May God take you to your dreams and may you have good success.…..
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