Beacon of hope for specially challenged

Beacon of hope for specially challenged
Highlights

Divyang Solar Society, formed under the aegis of Medak District Collector Ronald Rose, has started a new chapter in empowering the differently-abled persons, offering sustainable livelihood to a whole lot of physically handicapped persons, making them self-sufficient.

A disabled woman Zubeida, a resident of Kandi village in Sangareddy mandal, has been striving hard to give livelihood to scores of her ilk, by training them to make solar mini lights

Sangareddy: Divyang Solar Society, formed under the aegis of Medak District Collector Ronald Rose, has started a new chapter in empowering the differently-abled persons, offering sustainable livelihood to a whole lot of physically handicapped persons, making them self-sufficient.

Zubeida, a resident of Kandi village in Sangareddy mandal, is a physically handicapped woman with locomotor disability. She has been working to protect the rights of differently-abled for the past 20 years, by running Vikalangula Chetana Service Organisation based in Medak District.

By representing her community, she has been able to get a housing colony named Vikalangula Chaitanya Colony on the outskirts of Sangareddy. She kept her struggle going, not with the support of any political party, but using administrative support.

Observing large-scale unemployment among the people in her community, she, along with her community members had approached District Collector Ronald Rose in the past, requesting him to work out something, so that the differently-abled could stand on their own feet.

Ronald Rose, who was impressed by the work of a company Thrive Solar Energy Pvt Ltd and an NGO related to them named One Child One Light (OCOL) in providing affordable, effective, energy-efficient and non-polluting products to rural India, decided to accommodate these differently-abled persons in the supply-chain of the industry. The company readily agreed to the Collector’s idea.

A total of 14 differently-abled persons from Kandi, Isnapur and Tellapur villages were given training in the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) for four days in assembling components, electronic parts, printing of panels and in moulding plastic components. Divyang Solar Society was formed by the workers and a manufacturing unit was inaugurated on the Old DRDA office premises on February 2.

The fourteen-member team under the leadership of Zubeida, manufactured more than 600 solar mini lights since then, each of them with (0.5 watt LED, 0.5 watt embedded solar panel and rechargeable NiMh battery specifications). The mini lights are highly useful for farmers as they act as torch lights as well as room lights. They are easy to carry and can go on for eight hours once they are charged by sunlight. Divyang Solar Society not only assembles the components, but also markets them and sells them.

Though the raw materials are provided by Thrive energy, Divyang gets to keep the profit from the sales, according to John William, Director, Thrive Solar Energy Pvt Ltd. The workers of Divyang Society are currently not only assembling solar mini lights, but also are marketing study lights and super LED home lights being manufactured by Thrive Energy. “We have just started the initiative. In the future we may be extending training to these differently-abled people for manufacturing other products as well,” John said.

Appreciated for her work in empowering differently-abled people, Zubeida has recently received appreciation from NIRD and Panchayat Raj on March 8, International Women’s Day, for her work in differently-abled rural entrepreneurship.Zubeida feels that though the differently-abled people have carved an identity for themselves, there is still high unemployment and beggary among the community. She hopes the government takes steps to address these issues.

“Only pension and benefits are not enough for the differently-abled community. They need overall development, which can be achieved only if their reservations in jobs are perfectly implemented across all government departments. Physical challenge among us is only in our body and not in our minds and there is no job we can't do,” she said.

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