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When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Sunday, November 22, 2015

physically challenged and us..some insights, some education, some info..


you remember this http://ananthoosupdates.blogspot.in/2015/08/differently-abled-our-govt-and-us.html isnt? about differently abled, their issues and our ggovts apathy..i wud say its also publics apathy!
but something interesting and responsible brewed..

a few friends got together to support some physically challenged in south TN, Sivaganga - by helping some 20 of them to adopt a home and run a training centre as well as carry out some activity and make it a functionaal space and also spin some revenues.. along with 2 of our OFM members I had helped in planning as well as collected funds to carry this forward..

They had organized an event inviting the Collector also and made a show (more to spread the word and to get various arms of the Govt like collectorate, puthu vazhvu, local panchayats,  etc) and that was well attended..
I wud have normally said No to such show (atleast in the initial days but to organize one after proving a point afer 8-12 months..still this was important for them)

So we placed a few pleas and requests to the collector and she immly oblidged..Like space for any produce these people will produce in Govt premises to market; a better space for these people for their own set up; setting up of an organic outlet soon, etc..(thanks to the VC of the state planning commission who had spoken to the collector b4 we left and also sprinkled some kind words about us..that shud have helped too!)
it was very interesting to see them all pull off an event like this so efficiently and also participate as well as enjoy this..
Just a few hard truths for us normals who are mostly oblivious to their day to day sufferings:
-          - To find a house for them in general and in this case where there will be so many of the phy challenged together in a place is so difficult..there have been cases where people have taken advance and then bcos their neighbours objected or as an aftermath in knowing abt their background they come back and tell them they cant give the house on rent (citing some vague reasons) and return the advance
-         -  Even this house that they are staying and operating, doesnot have a toilet inside..that means these people have to go down the steps in the back yard and move to the far end..similarly the entrance is steep 5 steps..these people do not even want to ask about constructing a ramp, for the fear that it cud set off the owner who has atleast given them  without problems..
-          - Even buses do not stop for them..atleast a handful were stating their experience of how on seeing their wheel chair or support rod the driver or conductor wud just move on or not stop or abuse them and go..
-         -  Incidentally there was a High court  verdict that demanded the govt buses to have easy access for all phy challenged and the particular judge did not trust the govt to comply and so asked them to produce the bus with solution in the court..the govt did it for a few buses, showed a couple and stopped..and till date no improvement..not even bothered to help them..how insensitive:-(
-          - One of them was telling me how they long for any gathering/event and esp for food bcos they are hardly served food with affection nor any special food..as they are never taken to any public function (even relatives marriage) and so they long for ‘kalyana sapaaad’!
-          - And as a contrast I saw a mother and daughter sitting next to me not going for lunch that was provided that day just after the event ..i pressed them twice and still they wud say “later” and not go....later  pushparaj clarified to me saying ; don’t press them..esp women..if we have to travel, we aall refrain from eating..even water we think so many times and avoid..bcos no public space like bus stands, rly stns will have toilets that are accessible for us..and bus drivers or other authorities are never considerate for us..they wudnt even stop..its all a huge problem..”  (oh! Shucks..was my feeling..how alienated we all have been from all their problems)
-          One of the organizers came up to me and said ‘pl be in touch sir..people esp pepole like u all (I dunno what ever he meant by that!) rarely talk to us..and only when people with better experience and exposure talk us and guide us we will know better things and do better..’ and then added ‘even if we make mistakes, do not avoid and move away, pl correct us..bcos we may be making mistakes without knowing, not after knowing’..the tone was so sincere, I was so touched..
 So much for a days event..but there was lotsa hope..this space that we all collectively supported already is having a machine (given by one of our volunteers- advocate Shiva) and they have been trained to make paper bowls and plates..they will now get in to more such things..
they also have already started some training, tuition for phy challenged and poor kids..this space is put to such fantastic use already..just bcos they didn’t have one space for them all before..
So very proud and happy that our collective effort has been very productively put to use..and its serving more purpose than we thought..and its also going really good strides..



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