“My dreams were broken into pieces.. I became mentally depressed.I thought life had come to an end”.
Background: Neethu was born on 10 June 1995 to Mr. Devendrappa Kaba and Nagamma, in Honnakiranagi, Kaluburagi. She was attacked by Polio at the age of 2, making her physically challenged for all of her life. Herright hand, legs and waist was affected as it left her motionless.
Medication and mercy appeals to God almighty did not turn her healthy. She could move nowhere. Bound by the tradition and culture a Hindu disabled girl fought against the prejudiced mind of her parents, relatives and neighbours and stepped in to the school with the help of attendants who carried her to school and lifted back home safely.
Amidst helplessness, fear and bleak future she crawled ahead with courage and firm determination to confirm others that lifeless limbs do not obstruct life but a conditioned mind. Her achievements in the school, involvement in the co-curricular activity is a clear sign that life is beyond body and its movement. Inspite of her disability, she bagged 6th Rank in District level International Chinthana science examination during the year 2005-06 and passed in 1st class in state level Navodaya Kannada Exam.
As she grew in age difficulties also increased. Movement became harder as well as parents worried about her security as the school was far away. With much difficulty she completed her 10th standard and wanted to pursue higher studies. But her parents did not admit her as the college was far away from the village. It hurt her deeply resulting in mental depression. She was not open and was unable to express her feelings of pain. She wouldn’t mingle with people and avoided visitors. She refused to go to relative’s houses, temples and other common gatherings. One would find her sad and lonely, swimming against the deadly fears and unanswered questions of daily life.
Intervention:When our staff met her she was under mental depression. She was suffering from loneliness and helplessness. When we first visited she was refused to talk to us. Her family members were not so welcoming. They did not believe in our intervention. Our constant visits indeed eased her pain as she slowely accepted her disability. Through regular counselling Neetha and her parents were made to realise that disability is not a curse but a blessing.
After studying her talents in weaving, embroidery, craft, drawing and mehendi design, our staff encouraged her to spend time in improving it. She began watching programs that teach these skills in Television and learnt art, craft especially modern Jewellery. We did provide some materials as well as guidance.Identifying her ability to write poems and write ups we encouraged her to write poems, and articles for Seva Spandana a newsletter of Sevasangama. Through home based intervention we motivated the parents to encourage her to improve her talents as well as to make her feel wanted and cared. The neighbourhood also was educated to empower disabled through awareness programs.
IMPACT:Today Neetha is model to many disabled persons who cry over their situations.Society recognises her somebody different who can inspire many.
- Neetha is happy and her face radiates Joy from within. We see and experience a transformed Neetha with optimistic outlook towards disability.
- Her home is a haven for Neetha. Today their approach and attitude towards their daughter is completely positive and life promoting. They deem her as their LAXMI who brought prosperity and peace. They are proud of her.
- Entire village respects Neetha and speaks highly about her patience and joyful perseverance.
- Currently succumbed to the cot, Neetha reads and updates herself with the current issues of women children, poor, the environment, and political realities. Sitting still she reflects and expresses her concern for the vulnerable world through poems and write ups. Some of her writing have brought the deep pain as well as grateful ness she herself experienced in her life.
- She is regular writer for Sevasapandana the newsletter of Sevasangama.She has already written several times for the same.
- Sevasangama has published a book called Neetha that consists a collection of her poems.
- Neeta takes delight in drawing, craft and making design in Mehandi. Women of her village do flock to her during marriages and other functions to decorate their hands.
- Modern Jewellery is something she loves to teach others. She teaches the village children to make colourful earrings and chains.
- She gives speeches on world disabledday and other celebrations like school functions, women’s day etc
- She visits Temples , Jatras and other functions without hesitation. Today she is ready to travel miles to teach the children craft and other creative works.