Saturday, December 2, 2023

Kaleidoscope highlights inspirational stories of differently-abled women

Tata Steel Foundation and CII-IWN host Conversation 4: Ability Unlimited virtually

Jamshedpur, Jan 22: Manju once had a job that many young women in this country dream of. A flight attendant, she was looked up to by many around her as an inspiration. But an unfortunate incident left her wheelchair bound shattering her dreams of flying high forever.

Today, she is not into her flying profession but is still a motivation to many. Having undergone years of treatment for her neurological locomotor disability, Manju worked hard to be independent again. She fought both, mental and physical battles to ensure that her continued as before.

Presently employed with Enable India, she has been managing and facilitating training programmes at Sabal – Centre for Abilities for the last 3 years. Sabal is a joint initiative of Tata Steel Foundation and Enable India that works towards the empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

“The only blockage that one has is in the mindset. Hence, it is important that we make ourselves believe that we can and if we do then we can,” said Manju.

The fourth session of Kaleidoscope brought to fore stories of grit where differently-abled women faced challenging circumstances but converted their difficulties into opportunities. These women have turned inspiration for their community for fighting societal pressures yet shining through them.

Kavita Bhondve,  a 34-year-olde Sarpanch of two villages of  Dindoli taluka in Nashik district of Maharashtra also shared her story at the session. She has locomotor disability. Currently in her second term in the role, Kavita has left an imprint on the two villages with her work. She has not only linked her village with government schemes but has also ensured peoples’ participation for the village welfare.

Rupam Kumari, presently employed with the Indian Railways, is also the vice-president of the National Federation for Blind of Jharkhand. Her story of courage moved the audience at the session.

She completed her studies with much difficulty with the lack of availability of a scribe to write examinations due to her visual impairment. But she ensured to complete her studies and received training on digital literacy for visual impairment through a centre. Rupam is presently currently working in Dhanbad and manages her day-to-day chores all on her own.

These inspiring stories were beautifully woven together by Shampa Sengupta, an activist working on gender and disability rights. She is the Founder-Director of Kolkata based advocacy group named Sruti Disability Rights Centre and is working as Joint Secretary of India’s largest membership based cross disability network National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD).

Speaking about the panelists, Swastika Basu, Chairwoman, CII-IWN Jharkhand Chapter and Chief-Enterprise Risk Management, Tata Steel Limited welcomed the panelists and participants and stated, ‘That these women of substance had forayed paths not only for themselves but also portrayed success stories for their peers. Their stories are full of grit, determination, positivity and psychological resilience that is inherent in a woman to face the challenges of life.

Sourav Roy, Convenor, CII Jharkhand CSR and Skill Development Panel and Chief, Corporate Social Responsibility, Tata Steel Limited expressed, ‘There are so many stories of relentless struggle and never-say-die-attitude of women around us. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that such stories that serve as an undying inspiration and motivation for everyone around us comes to fore.’

Kaleidoscope is a series of 5 webinars, co-hosted by Tata Steel Foundation and CII-Indian Women Network Jharkhand Chapter, which looks to weave beautiful patterns between the apparently disconnected worlds and contexts of women from deep rural hinterlands of India and women professionals and entrepreneurs who are setting benchmarks in urban and peri-urban contexts. 

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