Vandana always feels that people can do better, make more efforts to improve their situation. She is perplexed seeing the lethargy which many times surrounds her. People with resources, good health or even with time on their hands choose to while away their life and also complaining about their own situation.
Vandana, a spirited person and personality has a large giving heart and wants to help people consistently. Many times a difficult proposition for HER, sitting at her home, as she cannot visit her neighbors also.
For, Vandana has no hands to hold to and no legs to stand on.
She reaches out with her head and heart !
For a long time now, Vandana, a 35 years old has been afflicted with Polio. She is neither deserted nor a widow, but is single due to her condition. It is an effort by Chetana-Vikas women to reach the most vulnerable amongst the underprivileged.
BRANDED, as a 'lame', a 'burden', 'unnecessary & unimportant' person throughout her life, she was again branded 'over smart' when she decided to start a small trade to fend for herself.
"Why does she want to take this trouble ? She will lose their money. Her parents can feed her. She is just a show-off".
Around 15 years earlier, there was a tailoring shop in front of her house. She pestered the tailor to teach her small jobs like sewing buttons, eyes and other tit-bits on the clothes he used to make. Then she badgered him to give these types of work as a job to herself. He obliged.
This is how Vandana started earning small money ranging from Rs. 5-50 (USD $ 0.08 - 0.83).
She again pestered her parents to buy her a hand sewing machine. No one in the family thought that she should and could go ahead with the idea and told her that she should be satisfied with whatever she was earning.But they had to give in, seeing her determination.
Tired of asking people for money, she came in contact with women of Chetana-Vikas, formed her own group of Self-Help with 16 women. They contributed Rs.100 (USD $ 1.66) each month and slowly the savings grew.
The relationship with Chetana-Vikas also grew with ample support and advice from time to time to her.
Since, she lived in a small village, the money was inconsistent. She decided to set up a small shop. She again faced a wall in her family who did not like the idea. They were afraid that, they will be required to run around bringing material for the shop, since Vandana herself could not move around and go anywhere.
With able support from Chetana-Vikas women and with financial support from all of you, Vandana today is a proud owner of a small, diversified shop where she keeps cloth material, cosmetics, stationary and other things. This program enabled her to get a loan of Rs.15,000/- (USD 249.29) . Through this money, she has a deal with an auto rickshaw driver. With great difficulty, she climbs and gets in & out of the auto rickshaw, which is extremely painful for her. The auto takes her to the city, she buys wholesale material in shops and is dropped back at her village, in front of her home. She has to be helped each time into and out of the auto rickshaw.
But she does not need her relatives to run her shop.
The shop has started and is running well. With improvement in her economic condition, she is eager to help other persons with disabilities to improve their life.
The photographs here say it all.
In future, Chetana-Vikas support staff are determined to try to get a motorized tri-wheeler for her through her own savings, so that her plans are not dependent on anyone's whims and fancies.
Vandana is eager for life and evidently the sky is NOT the limit for her.
Come friends let us join her spirit and implore others to join too.
<http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-deserted-women-and-widows-in-rural-india/,>. We are also accessible on <https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chetana-Vikas/162861643736214.>
Vandana sends a BIG Thank You !
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http://www.chetanavikas.org (presently under reconstruction, but accessible)