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Hands that See:Suresh's Story

Man siting on a indian rope daybed holding a wooden box painted Green
© CBM India
Suresh with his wooden models customized as training material for explaining the process for making composting pits

Suresh appears much older than his age. But his high energy levels soon dispel an impression of old-age, as he juggles several small sized wooden boxes that are coloured in green paint, creating a contrast with the lush green climbers on the bare walls behind him.

The boxes are models of composting pits used for creating manure for growing vegetables and crops. This becomes clear as he starts explaining each of them through a spirited presentation based on touch and voice. Suresh, 52, is a person with blindness and works as a master trainer with the CBM supported disability inclusive organic farming project.

“I have been blind since birth and have faced discrimination most of life. But I never get bitter, and keep my spirits high,” says Suresh, while talking about his life and often breaks into a smile with the evening sun illuminating his face.

Suresh is unmarried and lives with his younger brother. They now live away from rest of the family that includes his elder brother, mother, and father. 

His family has struggled with poverty and both brothers work as daily wage workers with long periods without work. The family has a small piece of land, but it had lost productive and could not to give them food security or income. 

“The land lost fertility with the relentless use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. We just did not have more money to keep adding it with each passing year. We also got blisters and skin rashes while dealing with chemicals,” Suresh recalls. 

A member of the local Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPO), Suresh has been a part of CBM’s Disability Inclusive Organic Agriculture. He is not only an expert in various techniques of creating organic manure but is also training both disabled and non-disabled members. But before, he began creating waves of change, Suresh started closer to his home on the family land.

“I started using all that I learned on my own land. Slowly, the fertility of the soil improved. The local seeds, organic manure, and a bio-pesticides started showing a positive impact on the quality of the produce, especially vegetables,” he adds.
A middle age woman waring a yellow sarees covering her head engaged in a discussion with a old men holding a green wooden box. Both of them were sitting on a Indian daybed and the woman have kept crutches on her side. ©CBM India
Maya interacting with Santosh while he explains the different types of structures and designs used for composting pits
One of the immediate benefits of organic farming methods has been a remarkable reduction in the cost of inputs with the phasing out of expensive chemical fertilisers and pesticides. This encourages families in the village to experiment with the new methods. 

Like most families that have benefited from the project, Santosh’s family also has better food and can rely on the small patch of land to grow vegetables and season crops. 

Santosh comes across as an empowered and confident person with a strong desire to champion the practice of disability inclusive organic farming and access to schemes by persons with disabilities.

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