I wanted to share with you a truly inspiring story I read this week about Celina Tirkey. Celina lives in Amdangi Village in Siliguri in West Bengal in India. ActionAid has been working in this area in partnership with a local organisation called North Bengal Council for the Disabled (NBCD) since 2005.
We imagine how difficult life is for the poor and vulnerable in these countries but somehow it never occurred to me how poor people with disabilities coped. I don’t think I could explain things any better than Celina, so in her own words here is a glimpse into her life:
“My name is Celina Tirkey. I am living in Amdangi Village and I have cerebral palsy. I studied up to class eight at school but then dropped out because my parents saw it a waste of an education for a girl with disabilities.
My family members felt I was a burden to them and asked me to leave the house. I feared managing myself outside of the family home, so inspite of constant insults, I continued to live with them.
One day, I met with NBCD staff and expressed my troubles at home. I became a member of the disability group they formed along with ActionAid. Within this group, I was encouraged to apply for housing under a government scheme called Indira Awas Yojna.
ActionAid and NBCD helped me pay regular visits to the local government office, and finally I received enough money to build my own house from brick and tin.
ActionAid and NBCD went even further to help me too! They assisted me in getting a job within a school as a clerk. I work in the office, filing records and preparing important information. I enjoy this job a lot because all the teachers and students cooperate in my work and I feel it’s something I can be good at.
I am so happy with my new life. I shall be an example to other women with disabilities in our village, and motivate them to lead their own lives with dignity."
Like Celina, 16 women have now been able to build their own homes and become more independent. We shall be carrying on this work with the local community, and look forward to updating you with more results in the future. Together with NBCD we are helping to bring about a more dignified life for over 3,088 people living with disabilities.
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