Visakhapatnam: Disability no bar to swing into work

Visakhapatnam: Disability no bar to swing into work
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A team of physically-challenged women in action at Sampoorna, a rehabilitation centre, in Visakhapatnam Photo: Vasu Potnuru
Highlights

  • Polio-affected women at Sampoorna, Physically-Handicapped Welfare Association, braving scorching heat, work in tandem to make sanitary pads
  • They resume work to earn livelihood after two months break due to coronavirus lockdown

Visakhapatnam: Oblivious to the scorching heat, a team of five – V Raji, N Rama, Rajeshwari, R Eeswaramma and J Ramanamma, work swiftly to make sanitary napkins.

On a hot Saturday afternoon, these polio-affected women at Sampoorna, a Physically-Handicapped Welfare Association, work in tandem to complete the task. From cutting the cotton strips to filling it with biodegradable material, sealing to sterilising and placing removable adhesive strips, each process is shared. "The readied products get packed. At present, we are making seven pieces per pack," explains Raji. Just a little away from them is where S Sagarika settles to make brown covers to pass them on to her friends for packing purpose. The polio-affected girl from Gajuwaka says that it has been two months since she could earn anything and getting back to work is what she enjoys the most.

In another room, Anakapalle-based K. Varakakshmi and G. Jaya Lakshmi from Vizianagram get the ingredients sorted to make assorted savouries.

While some of them have been associated with the rehabilitation centre for a decade, a few joined recently. "It is nice to be a learner and also make some money," beams E. Durga, a polio-affected person, who joined the centre recently. She says that she can make 30 cloth bags a day. Incorporating magazine papers, Ganesh Patnaik, a differently-abled person, is adept at making parcel covers. Despite the limited mobility, he could complete the task on hand as quick as possible.

The twenty-year-old rehab centre empowers physically-challenged persons and trains them in a range of skills and also provides food and accommodation facilities. The sanitary napkin manufacturing machine, sourced from the famous 'Pad man' A Murugunantham of Jayaashree Industries, Coimbatore, was installed at Sampoorna with the support of Rotary Club Visakhapatnam Central five years back.

"After the team got completely trained in the process, we started making biodegradable napkins and catering to bulk orders that arrive from schools and clubs," elaborates Ch. Satya, founder-president of Sampoorna. The wheelchair-bound leader of the 15-member team at the centre says that though orders were pouring in, they could not proceed further because of the lockdown.

Now, it is a different scenario altogether. "At present, we are making quilts, paper bags, potli bags, sanitary napkins and soft toys. Savouries are made as and when we get orders. Whatever profits we earn from each order will be shared among the team equally," adds Satya.

With two volunteers – E Lakshmi and H Mary assisting the women at the unit, the team, armed with masks and caps, plans to make designer 'diyas' and candles next.

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