Ms. Reeta Agrawal ( Founder & Managing Director )
Society’s mentality towards disability is one that entails relentless humiliation of those who actually fight the fight of being different. Being disabled herself, Ms. Reeta Agrawal has faced a lot of discrimination, right since her school days. She was discouraged from doing things she was actually capable of, simply because teachers and other caregivers weaponised her disability and branded her for life. To prevent others from meeting the same fate, she started working with differently-abled people in her area. The residents of this tribal belt of Chhattisgarh have very little awareness and she was one woman in a sea of opposition. Initially she had a day job in the private education sector, but 10 years of tireless effort culminated in the establishment of Anamika Welfare Society in 2015. Most people give their children away to her in a social setting where having a differently-abled child is accompanied by intense shame and anxiety. The NGO has become a safe haven for people with disabilities, a way for them to escape a life of ridicule and injustice. Her vision is to empower people with disabilities, and to fulfill their special needs so that they can achieve everything that able-bodied people can.
Even though more than 2.68 crore people in India live with disabilities, the needs and struggles of those who are differently-abled are poorly understood, and even more poorly addressed. Negative attitudes are prevalent, and superstitions inform the treatment of those termed as ‘divyang’. In such circumstances, the responsibility of advocating for disability rights often falls on the shoulders of those who have disabled themselves. Embodying this spirit of ‘nothing about us without us’, Ms. Reeta Agrawal started Anamika Welfare Society in 2015.
Based in dist. Surguja, Chhattisgarh, the NGO assists diabled people in living a life of dignity and equal opportunities. It runs a mental rehabilitation center for people with cognitive impairments and multiple disabilities. Currently there are 50 inhabitants of the center. The team of 20 members also works with visually impaired children under the age of 14 years at their education center. They are provided with braille books and special sports kits. This is supplemented by a specialized center for youth with disabilities.
The principle that people with disabilities deserve the same standard of education and life that able-bodied people enjoy runs deep through everything the NGO does.
The Society has also established a residency for those disabled people who have been disowned by their families. The residents enjoy all the comforts of home and the enduring care of Ms. Agrawal and her team.
Convincing the families of differently-abled children to bring them under the wing of Anamika Welfare Society has proven to be exceedingly difficult, time and time again. Their families are often disparaging, and would rather take resort to local spiritual healers or tantric gurus, instead of making their children’s environment more accommodating of their needs. But Anamika Welfare Society perseveres, and in a world where differently abled people face constant exclusion, it is a shining beacon of hope.
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Even though more than 2.68 crore people in India live with disabilities, the needs and struggles of those who are differently-abled are poorly understood, and even more poorly addressed. Negative attitudes are prevalent, and superstitions inform the treatment of those termed as ‘divyang’. In such circumstances, the responsibility of advocating…Read MoreSUPPORT