Monday, June 21, 2010

Through hope they teach to cope

Entering a building in the First Cross of Muneshwara Nagar here is an eye opener.
Six young persons, three of them girls, are working. Two things strike you, one, they are cheerful, chirpy and amazingly active. Second, they all have some physical disability or the other.More is in store. As you begin talking to them you find that they are working on aids for people like themselves - people with physical disabilities.
Physically disabled they may be, but their abilities are amazing. They produce prosthetic and orthotic aids, crutches etc. They fit the users with the aids, train them in using them, counsel them to cope with their disabilities and advice them on accessing financial assistance to earn a livelihood and become self-reliant.
The Association of People with Disability (APD), an NGO trained the young men and women from Bangalore, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Gauribidanur and Srinivaspur for a year and assisted them to set up the Navachetana prosthetics and orthotics production centre in Kolar, to enable them make themselves self-reliant.
The aids they produce can be used by polio-affected children, persons with wasted limbs or those who have lost their limbs, those with deformed limbs or spine, and those who have suffered spinal injuries or have chronic pains in the neck or other parts of their bodies.
Assisted by APD so far, Navachethana is on the verge of self-reliance, and the little army of half a dozen differently able youths brim with confidence about facing life and helping others.
Narasimha Murthy of Gauribidanur, who is an expert in producing the artificial aids, is an epitome of that spirit.
"Five years ago, I fell from a four-storeyed building and lost all feeling from waist below. After undergoing therapy and training, I decided to dedicate my life for people with disabilities. I am now confident enough to fill others with hope.”APD Programme Coordinator Paul Y Samuel says his organisation began the prosthetics and orthotics production centre in Bangalore in 1989.“Realising the difficulty of persons with disabilities having to travel to Bangalore to access such facilities such as aids, training on using them and counselling to cope with disabilities, we have decided to start similar centres in every district. ”The unit in Kolar and one in Madikeri are among the first of such district centres.“Compared to private hospitals, the cost of equipment, training and counselling is very low at Navachethana. For instance, a session of physiotherapy costs only Rs 20,” Samuel says. Further, since the counsellors and trainers are themselves people with disabilities, communication is easier and there is greater empathy between the staff of the centre and the users, Samuel says. Another USP of Navachethana is that the young persons who run it, offer doorstep services for such people whose disabilities make it not possible to visit the centre.
More details can be had on phone no. 08152-699654.

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