“Abled does not mean enabled – Disabled does not mean less abled”

Posted July 10, 2019 from India

I am part of the Collective Impact Partners network for the past one year. This network helped me to change as a leader and learn from 22 other women from Maharashtra about their stories and passion. I am a Medical doctor and always have had a passion towards women’s empowerment and have been working at community level for the past 25 years. With a health background and focus on women’s health it was difficult for me to be focus on women’s empowerment. The program conducted by 5 US based organizations changed me as an individual, changed me as a leader and helped me to realign my focus on women’s empowerment and collate my actions in a focused manner to bring about concentrated change in the communities I work.

I would like to share one such success story among many others. Helplife is a NGO which I am associated with working towards underprivileged and differently abled girls and women in Pune, India Maharashtra. Helplife is currently working actively for differently abled girls through their innovative internship programme with the express purpose of mainstreaming them into society by empowering them to become professionals and independent members of society. This programme addresses physical, mental and social rehabilitation of the interns that have come from impoverished backgrounds with no educational or financial support.

The program currently supports 17 girls for their economic empowerment, accommodation, education, travel, medical and mess/grocery expenses. These girls come from rural underprivileged background. It gives me great pleasure to share with you Malta’s story.

Malta Pundalik Usar is a 26 years old girl who has completed her Masters in Commerce and wants to be a banking officer. Along with Post Graduation, she has completed Tally ERP 9, Marathi and English typing and Diploma in Taxation Law. She was born in Buldhana and joined the Apang Kalyankari Institute in Wanowrie when she was in 7th STD. She has 4 siblings. Her parents are farmers. She lost her right hand in an accident. She comes from low socio-economic strata. She has 89 % disability. Since she joined Helplife, she says that she has become more responsible, decisive and feels good that she has come out of her comfort zone. She said, “With Helplife, it feels at home; we are a family.”

When Malta entered Helplife, she was a shy and timid girl. Today, she is confident and independent. Despite having just one hand, she manages all household chores, commuting by bus and studies well. She has become more responsible, decisive and feels good that she has come out of her comfort zone. She is always in the top 5 of her class every year. Earlier she was working in a property tax office and handled all the online work. Currently she is working in Helplife as a Program Officer and handling accounts of Helplife. She recently got married and fairly supports herself and her family.



Comments 5

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Malti Sagne
Jul 10
Jul 10

आपकी कहानी से मुझे बहोत उजौ मिली है हम साथ साथ काम कर सकते हो

Hello, Doc Laila,

I’m glad to read Malta’s success story with Helplife. My heart is really close to people who are differently-abled because my son has special needs and development delay.

Thank you for inspiring us with your story. I’m glad you learned a lot from attending CIP.

I hope to read more from you esp that you have 25 years of supporting and empowering women.

Stella Paul
Jul 11
Jul 11

Dear Laila
World over, the rights of people living with disabilities is not given proper attention. Even the policy makers are not very aware of their needs and rights. The contribution of individual activists and the civil society is, therefore, extremely crucial. Proud of you for making that contribution and helping people like Malta live a better life with dignity. More power to you!

Beth Lacey
Jul 12
Jul 12

A lovely story

Jill Langhus
Jul 13
Jul 13

Hi Laila,

Thanks for sharing more of your story, as well as Helplife and Malta's story, too:-) What an inspiring story. How do the girls get selected for this program and can Malta get a prosthetic hand? She sounds more than capable without it but I keep thinking how much easier her life could be with another hand. I'm looking forward to seeing more stories from you. Please let us know if Helplife has a website and/or social media page(s) to like or follow.

I hope you're having a great weekend:-)

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