When some doors open, they open wide

When some doors open, they open wide

Ever since Sangita came to her husband, Yashwant Bawanekar’s house in Solamoh, in Amravati district of Maharashtra, she felt ill at ease. Having come from a small family, her husband’s large family of seven members was too much for her – it robbed her of the solitude which she savoured much.

Polio affected 35-year-old Sangita when she was little and she finds it difficult to move around. Because of her disability, she could not work on the small piece of farmland her husband’s family owned and owing to this, others considered her a burden on the family. Though Yashwant was a trained welder, because of the shortage of jobs, he was working as a daily wage agricultural labourer. Managing a large household with the meagre income from his small farm was a big challenge for Yashwant’s father.

It was in the year 2014 that change arrived in Sangita’s life. The Leprosy Mission Trust India’s IHDID project staff (IHDID project works for inclusive, holistic development of persons with disabilities in Amravati district of Maharashtra) told her about Disability Certificate – an important document for persons with disabilities to access their rights and entitlements – issued by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. Sangita’s husband helped her and around 10 persons with disabilities from Solamoh visited the Civil Hospital in Amravati and applied for the certificate.

Yashwant Bawanekar, Sangita’s husband has a thriving welding business
Right after she got the Disability Certificate, the project staff advised her to apply for financial help from Maharashtra State Handicap Finance and Development Corporation, a government agency promoting the economic development of people with disabilities.

The project supported Sangita in applying for a loan. With the loan amount of Rs 80,000, Yashwant purchased a second-hand autorickshaw. He used the balance amount to buy welding equipment and started a welding business. An accomplished welder, it didn’t take much time for Yashwant’s business to hit it big. The handsome profit from the business changed the paradigm of their life – they now have enough money to meet all expenses and give good education to their two children. Not only that, their social status improved significantly.

With the increase in income, Sangita’s standing at home improved. Her family believes Sangita is their lucky charm. She now plays a crucial role in every stage of the decision-making process in the family. It’s she who holds the purse strings in her family!

“It is a stroke of luck I met IHDID project team. It has changed the course of our life,” says Sangita, bubbling over with gratitude.