Misconceptions regarding disability are commonplace across India. Akshay, along with his two younger brothers, faced a multitude of social obstacles growing up. As a result, his parents decided to keep them locked in the house as much as possible, isolating and ostracizing them even further. Eventually, the family had to relocate in order to escape the constant harassment they faced in the village.
When the family was connected with Landour Community Hospital (LCH), they were initially reticent to receive outside assistance. In partnership with other organizations, LCH runs the Disability Inclusive Livelihood Initiatives Program (DILIP). Over the course of several home visits from a therapist and special educators, the family began to accept help and make progress in overcoming the overwhelming social stigma. In time, the family even developed their own sign language in order to overcome the communication barrier that resulted from the boys’ speech disabilities.
At the age of 20, Akshay wanted to begin contributing to the family income. As he became more confident leaving the house alone, his father saved enough money to buy a mule for him. Akshay began making good money transporting a shipment each day for a local business owner. A keen and enthusiastic young man, he began to expand his work, completing a full 10 trips every day. Using the money he had saved from his work, Akshay recently purchased a second mule and is continuing to help his family. This financial stability is comforting for both his younger brothers as well as his parents.
Thanks to the hard work of the EHA staff on the community health team in this village, Akshay and his family were encouraged to take the first steps towards social destigmatization and, ultimately, financial stability.