Sarita works with an IT company in Bangalore, while Uma has started her sweets and snacks business a year ago at Prashanth Nagar in Chikkaballapur.
Things were, however, not always this rosy for these two women. Behind this face of the independent, working women, there has been a long and hard period through fire and brimstone, weathered by nothing but grit and will.
Polio struck Sarita, hailing from Prakasham district in Andhra Pradesh, at birth that rendered her legs immobile. The determined girl completed her high school with a first class, but PUC with great difficulty, battling poverty at every step.
Unwavering, she went on to get her BCom degree and just when she was aiming higher at an MCA degree, she was forced to give up her studies due to the sudden death of her father. Sarita now had to step into the shoes of her father as the sole breadwinner of the family. “I tried to get jobs for nearly two years in railways and banking, but was not able to find one. I lived in a place that had no facilities like computers, Internet and without any job prospects,” said Sarita.
Uma suffered a polio attack that critically left her body disabled when she was two months old. Against all odds, she studied to get a two-year degree in Laboratory Techniques, when another disaster struck.
“I started losing my vision during the second year of my studies,” she said. However, she completed her degree and took up a job in a private diagnostic centre. But, she had to leave the job after a year due to her deteriorating vision.
“I started to learn Braille and began to give tuitions to school children,” she said. Uma was, however, hungry for more. Help came in the form of the Cheshire Disability Trust, an organisation that has been helping those with disabilities for a long time now. Uma approached the Trust through a local organisation.
“I got a loan of Rs 10,000 from the Trust after due inspection by them, to start a business of sweets,” she said. Uma’s business now caters to many weddings and functions around her village and in other parts of Prakasham district.
“I want to start a milk dairy and have already bought two cows,” she said.
Sarita heard about the Trust from its local unit in the area. She moved to Bangalore in 2008 to be employed with the Trust. “I worked in the accounts and administration section for two and a half years. During this time, I didn’t stop looking for other jobs and the Trust arranged for interviews with possible employers.”
She was finally employed in an IT firm in the City. “The job was difficult at first as it was totally different from what I did before. Later, I picked up the work and now it’s quite ok. I will complete one year with the company on December 23,” she said.