Making their own luck

It is not sympathy that the differently abled are looking for. Opportunities to create a future for themselves are more important. However, there is still a dearth of opportunities for them. But, Mysore taluk’s differently abled are not waiting for opportunities; they are instead going ahead and making their own luck. What’s more, they have also succeeded in their chosen paths.

They have formed self-help groups under the gram panchayat jurisdiction, which help them improve their savings. Every self-help group has 10 to 20 members. Mysore taluk now has 46 self-help groups and over Rs four lakh has already been saved. Also, they have taken up small businesses such as paper-bag making, wire-bag making, sheep rearing, etc.

Misuse of funds

Gram Panchayat rules have it that three per cent of funds should be used for the welfare of the differently abled. However, these funds are often misused in most panchayats. Also, because the differently abled have not been organised enough, they have not been able to pressurise the panchayats to utilise funds.

Because the differently abled have formed self-help groups in Mysore taluk, they have been able to appeal to the 33 gram panchayats to utilise three per cent of the funds for their welfare. Over 18 panchayats have already offered support too.

Out of the 46 self-help groups formed for the welfare of the differently abled in Mysore taluk, 38 have bank accounts and have deposited their savings funds there. Also, these self-help groups have appealed to the gram panchayats to provide them self-employment opportunities.

They have also appealed to the taluk panchayats to offer subsidies under the Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) scheme.

The differently abled have also formed a federation of self-help groups in Mysore taluk’s Jayapura and Varuna hoblis.

Self-reliant and self-employed

Also, a community-based rehabilitation programme has been implemented in Mysore taluk with the help of the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement at Saragur and Mumbai’s Sight Savers. A survey of the differently abled has been conducted under the programme.

The groups are helping those with disabilities to become self-reliant and self-employed.
The differently abled are taught to save and carry out bank transactions as well.

Also, they are taken to different government departments and are trained on what facilities and schemes are available for them. Today, Mysore taluk’s differently abled are empowered enough to go to government offices on their own and avail of all the facilities that are meant for them.

“It is not our objective to hand hold and help the differently abled. We are more interested in training them and making them self-reliant. Our responsibilities end once the federation of self-help groups and the co-operative bank start functioning well, and the disabled can take over and manage their responsibilities effectively,” says project co-ordinator M P Ramesh.