Shanthi’s story — India
Shanthi is 33 years old. She lives in Katchanam Panchayath, Kerala, with her two young children. She has a hearing impairment. At school, she found it difficult to communicate with her peers and her teachers. However, with the help of her parents, especially her father who is a school teacher, she put in an extra effort and managed to complete her higher secondary education.
After school, she married a local agricultural laborer. They had two children together. However, the marriage broke down, partly because of her disability, and her husband sent her back to her parents.
Our project team was working in Shanti’s village. We met with Shanti and talked to her about her aspirations and needs. We gave her regular counselling and guidance to increase her self-confidence and motivation, and encouraged her to join a self-help group of people with disabilities in her village. We also helped her to get a hearing aid from the government which improved her communication.
We supported her to obtain seed money to establish her own tailoring shop. She is now a successful entrepreneur and gets regular orders from the government to produce school uniforms. She is earning enough to comfortably feed and educate her children. Her communication and self-esteem have greatly improved to the extent that she is now confident enough to go directly to government officials to obtain more orders herself. In the future Shanti would like to train other people with disabilities so they do not have to struggle like her.