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A reason to smile

© CBM
Ramsevak with his sister and brother, looking ahead at a brighter future

Ramsevak’s story would have been like that of any other individual with an intellectual disability living in a rural household in a community with a low level of awareness of the needs and rights of people with disabilities.

Though it is still early days, Ramsevak is already challenging stereotypes in his community that not too long ago dismissed his presence on account of his disability. The 30-year-old man breaks into a smile every now and then as he speaks.

Overcoming the odds

As the first born male child, Ramsevak’s birth kindled the usual hopes in a patriarchal society. His father Kishori like most in the Borpani village, Betul, Madhya Pradesh, saw him as the natural successor as the bread-winner of the family. 

Ramsevak’s difficulty in learning and movement became noticeable at a young age. The family consulted a doctor who confirmed that the boy had an intellectual disability. 

Kishori refused to make his son a victim of pity and low expectations that the community at large shows towards people with disabilities. 

The family gave him the best emotional and medical support that was possible within their limited means. 

“I could only study up to class five due to my health problems. I was often targeted with barbs and ridicule by my peers. They couldn’t understand my behavior as being a result of my disability and laughed at my expense,” said (says) Ramsevak, recounting his struggles.

The change begins

Ramsevak is receiving support through a CBM India programme built on the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) approach, which is an integrated approach to create inclusion and allow people with disabilities live a life of equal opportunities and dignity.

It started with an exercise by partner NGOs to reach out to people with disabilities. Once he was identified for support, a persistent follow-up led him to a disability certificate from the government. The certificate opened his access to a range of entitlements meant for people with disabilities. He now receives a disability allowance, making him an earning member of the family.  

He not only received medical care to enable him to manage his condition, but also financial support and skill development training through CBM India supported partner, Naman, as a part of its inclusive organic livelihood programme.

Economic inclusion

Man standing with his mother, sister and a buffalo ©CBM
CBM India works with Disabled Peoples’ Organisations (DPOs) to bring the community together to address barriers to inclusion to enable people with disabilities to join the development process. This process of inclusion is the bedrock of CBM India partnership framework.

Two years back, Ramsevak was given a membership to Aparna, which is a DPO partner in the inclusive organic farming programme. He soon bagged a cooperative loan and this in turn encouraged his family to invest the extra amount needed to buy a buffalo for generating additional income. 

The inclusive organic agriculture trainings that are a part of this pioneering agricultural livelihood programme combine organic techniques and accessible processes to enable people with disabilities and non-disabled people to work together. Ramsevak, has been able to grasp the essence of these trainings and works with his father in the family farm.   

”Today no one laughs at my brother and now there is no turning back,” adds his sister Nikita with a pride that reflects the changed perception of her brother.

A bold new world has opened up for Ramsevak as he now travels to meetings organised by DPOs. 

“I love to travel and I go by bus along with the other members to these meetings,” says Ramsevak.

The story gives a glimpse of how a little support, encouragement and an inclusive approach can usher change in the lives of people with disabilities.

Read More

Tapping opportunities through skill development

We can turn around the high levels of unemployment among people with disabilities through skill development and training opportunities

30-10-2015


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