“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart”
– Hellen Keller, the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts.
Who are People living with Difabilities (PWDs)?
People Living with Difabilities (from the differently abled) are treated as invisible and are one of the most excluded sections of society. Society chooses to only further stigmatise those who come into this world with differences possibly from medical difabilities or unfortunate accidents. This is worse in rural areas where general medical infrastructure is completely dysfunctional. As per 2011 census, India has about 2.68 crores of people living with difabilities of which 70% are in rural India.
What is Samarthya?
Samarthya which literally translates as ‘potential’ has been working in one of the most disadvantaged parts of north Karnataka – Koppal and Raichur - since 1989 as a Difability Resource Centre aiming to reduce the incidence of difability and ensure PWDs achieve their maximum potential and therefore lead independent and meaningful lives. Koppal and Raichur are part of Hyderabad Karnataka or North Karnataka and is the second largest arid region in the country. It is one of the most backward regions of Karnataka and has one of the highest incidences of difability within the state.
Over the last three decades, Samarthya has reached out to close to 20,000 difabled people in the region providing early intervention, spinal cord rehabilitation, training and livelihood support, and customised prosthetics. Samarthya started as an independent project of Samuha and in 2013, carved out its own identity as a separate organisation with a professional board.
How is Samarthya helping?
Samarthya is one of its kind in the region reaching out to 348 villages providing holistic care and support in many aspects of health, mental health, education, employment, aids and appliances.
- Samarthya runs the ONLY spinal cord rehabilitation centre in North Karnataka for people who can never walk again as a result of freak accidents
- Its comprehensive program on early intervention targeting children from 0-6 years works on minimizing developmental delays saving children from developing lifelong difabilities and helping them study in regular schools
- It runs a livelihood program for women with difabilities to help achieve self sufficiency through tried and tested skill development related to arts and crafts
- Its flagship Deaf Young Program and Deaf Child Program aim to empower deaf youth and promote inclusive education for deaf children
- Its Caregivers Program helps the nearest relative to care better for their loved person living with a difability
- It runs three Orthotic and Prosthetic Workshops that provide aids and appliances to help PWDs gain mobility
In dire straits…
Two of Samarthya’s centres in Koppal and Deodurga work out of SAMUHA properties that are in the process of being closed. Because these properties will soon not be available to Samarthya, the multiple services they provide from these two customised centres are now facing closure. If these centres close, PWDs in the North Karnataka region will have nowhere to go. It is imperative for these centres to continue functioning because of the following reasons:
- Familiarity and physical accessibility to these centres for PWDs and Caregivers
- PWD friendly infrastructure like entrances and pathways, toilets, rooms and workshops that would normally not be available in leased or rented properties, which have taken years to develop
- The aura of the centres is such that it provides more than just a physical space; Its architecture and design renders a safe space that is serene, green and peaceful, playing a conducive environment for physical and mental recuperation and rehabilitation to deal with trauma, particularly at SRC (Social Rehabilitation Centre)
- The centres are also open to growing needs of PWDs and Samarthya, including servicing capabilities for more PWDs, as well as build and sustain infrastructure for skill building (e.g. horticulture)
Thousands of children and adults risk losing a community of champions for life because the only place which gave them an enabling environment, pursue a life of dignity with incremental improvement in the quality of their lives will no longer be available for them.
Let’s give Samarthya a fighting chance, let’s give the PWD’s of Koppal and Raichur a fighting chance!
If you believe in the good work that is being done by Samarthya, please contribute to this fundraising campaign to help Samarthya buy out these two centres to ensure that #SamarthyaSurvives this crisis and is able to continue to provide multiple services to PWDs. We appeal to your generous nature to help us see through this financial crisis.
The two properties are worth Rs 210 Lakhs (roughly USD 323,000) which we need to raise to be able to prevent Samarthya’s centres from closing down.
As a starter, we are setting up a target of 70 lakhs to help us manage the current crisis temporarily.
Please donate, like and share to help Samarthya and empower people living with difabilities.