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285 million people are visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision (WHO 2011)
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A cycle repair shop transforms Sajub’s life

Sajub with his wife Teresa Daimari and daughter Premika Daimari
© CBM India
Sajub with his wife Teresa Daimari and daughter Premika Daimari at their cycle repair shop in Edenbari village in Udalguri district.

The smile on his face never fades. Most people, who pass by his cycle repair shop, pause to wave at him and make gestures to know about the well-being of the shop owner, Sajub Daimari.

Father Sureshmol, who often spends long hours at the cycle repair shop, narrates his son’s life-story: “We knew about Sajub’s difficulty with hearing when he was just a few days old. He wouldn’t cry like the other babies. As he was our first child, we were anxious about his condition. Later, the doctor confirmed that our baby has a hearing loss and some sort of speech impairment, too.We took Sajub to several doctors and traditional healers all over Udalguri, until he was ten, but to no avail. Finally, we gave up hope that our son will ever be able to hear or speak. It was his destiny…”
 
Disability took away much more of Sajub’s childhood joys. Sajub was never enrolled in a school. “There was a time when we wanted to send Sajub to school, but a local teacher asked, ‘How will a child with hearing impairment learn to read and write?’ That’s when we decided to keep Sajub at home, as we had no other option…” Sajub assisted his father in the fields and never got the opportunity to go to a school or play around with children of his age.
 
When Sajub was 28, he was married and had two children. Sajub decided to live separately with his wife and children, and earn his own living. The next few years were the most difficult phase for Sajub and his family. “He travelled a lot in search of a steady employment. He mostly worked as a daily wage labourer. The longest he worked was at a stone quarry, in a nearby village, for two years. That’s when his health deteriorated drastically, and he returned home to be with his family and do something simpler,” explains Sureshmol.
 
“Around that time, I got to know about CBM and their livelihood support program for persons with disabilities, and decided to approach them for support,” narrates the father.  Sajub received financial support through the project to setup a cycle repair shop in the market area.
 
A year has passed since Sajub started his shop and his hard work has already won the hearts of many in his village and beyond. “Nobody repairs cycles as he does in the entire area. People love and respect him for his hard work and honesty,” says a customer Kishore Chettri.
 
Asked how he conveys the cost to his customers, Sajub cracks a sheepish smile and replies with the help of his hands – perhaps, the number of fingers equals the amount. And how does he communicate with his children? Sajub laughs loudly and responds in similar gestures, which his wife translates as: “The kids are very smart. They know whom to approach for money. They come to me only when they need money and convey the amount with the help of fingers!” Then as Milton asks him what he feels about project that helped him set up the shop, Sajub beams all over his face and just as he smiles, tears roll down his cheeks…


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