Something in me had always wanted to be associated with Social work and development, and when an opportunity came my way as part of SUPA (Socially Useful & Productive Activity), a college project; I was excited. Although I would be wrong to not say that spending some time home was also one of the reasons.
Red Cross society was my destination, and with whatever I knew about the work it does, I was pretty excited. But it all came down, when I went there to meet them to formally start the proceedings. The guy over there tells me, “do hajaar lagega aapka yahan karne ke lie apna project” Shocked to reply anything, I just listened onto his blabber on how he described the whole work that I have to do and even told me that I need to bring my own vehicle to go different places. And even looked me in disgust when I told him that I don’t have one. I just asked him, “Sir, ye sab to voluntary work hai, isme paise kyun?” and pat came the reply, “ye sab to aap apne swaarth ke lie kar rahe hain, voluntary kaise hua……” and then he again started with describing how “his work” for Red cross is voluntary and how mine is for my “swaarth”. I walked out after that, saying my obligatory dhanyawaad.
After 3 days of scanning most of Jamshedpur, I finally found my match and hence my SUPA began with Jharkhand Viklang Morcha(JVM) and which went quite great. Along the way, I met some very amazing people and just thought about giving some time to let the world know about them. I interviewed many people during the course, people with disabilities but the strong determination. Instead of me, teaching something to them, they taught a lot to me.
From this post onward, I’d be telling some of the stories that I could cover. Hope you enjoy reading.
Starting with Mr. Prakash kumar, the Gabbar singh…
Courage and determination can best describe this man named, Prakash Kumar, Son of Shri Manti Mahto, a farmer who lives in Dadi village which is around 5km away from block Simaria. Being a disabled makes you very helpless and if your own family does not support you then that helplessness grows. But for Prakash, even these problems couldn’t stop him from doing what he wanted, i.e, Studies. After realizing that only he can support himself when it comes to studies, post-2004, he even started working at a jewellery shop. But even with that he had to leave his studies for 2 years.
It was not that he never received any support from anyone. His friends were always supportive of him, no matter what. Difficulties arising out of transportation for attending classes were taken care of by his friends and even for purpose of studies, they were always there for him. Although same cannot be said about his family. One particular incident he describes sadly of is of a day just a day before filling his forms in a particular class. There was some construction work going on in his house and in order to bring in raw materials, money was kept. When Prakash asked for money, to be given for form, his father and brother refused. Although, he promised to pay them back out of his own money in a day or two, still they refused to part ways with the money. Such was his family’s attitude towards his studies that if he wouldn’t have pressed himself hard, he would just be sitting idle in his home.
But it is his sheer determination to prove everyone who thinks of him as someone who cannot do anything, is taking him forward. He has been the happiest when he gets good results in the exams that he appears, even with a lot of difficulty. It instills him with a sense of achievement when it comes to getting good results. His struggles has not only benefitted him, but also gave him the confidence to help out others in need too. he is not only a leader among the disables but also helps people get information regarding the various polices and schemes put forward by the government for them.
He has not only helped many get benefits out of government schemes like pensions, Indira aawas yojna, getting tricycles, etc but also strengthened Jharkhand Viklang Manch by working towards its goals of maintaining unity among the various disables. Even at Indo-Danish Tool Room (IDTR), he tries to be a leader of all the students and helps them accordingly too. Fondly called as the “Gabbar Singh” by his fellow students, this lad wants to sail high and is leaving no stone unturn.