Disability is not an obstacle for success

Mr. Deepak Ranbanshi working at his rice mill at Gaurigunja RM

Jhapa, 28 December 2018- “If I just sat in my home, I would be giving up on all my strengths, knowledge and skills,” says Mr Deepak Rajbanshi, 38, a permanent resident of Gaurigunja Rural Municipality – 2, Korobari, Jhapa. He recalls the past when an unfortunate incident left him with disability. He got in an accident with thresher machine and lost his right hand in 2002.

He spent his life in despair and isolation after losing his hand. He was no more able to continue working at the farm and nearby market. He became subject to the social stigmatization, not only from the society but even his family was not supportive. He remembers how difficult it was for him to find a girl who would agree to marry a person with disability. Deepak’s wife Mrs Shila Rajbanshi, 36, smiled and shared, “I was also suggested by my relatives not to accept his marriage proposal but I found him very courageous and married him anyway.”

A social mobilizer from local implementing partner, Social Network for Justice and Development (SNJD), to Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal was informed about Rajbanshi at a group consultation meeting as per the project intervention at the community. The group suggested to provide  income generation options to the person and recommended it through the group meeting minute. Therefore, Rajbanshi received NPR 10,000 from the project and took additional loan of NPR 10,000 to buy a second hand rice mill at the community.

As a result of his dedication to his work he got benefitted within a short span of time and made significant income from the rice mill. His wife also supported him with the work and they also did additional business with off-seasonal vegetable farm simultaneously with the rice mill in the same location.

 Deepak, shared that they are earning more than one hundred thousand net in a year excluding the expense they made to buy petrol for the machine and seed/fertilizer they used for the off-seasonal vegetable farm. They have bought a small plot of land near the local market where they plan to shift in the future. They have renovated their house which was damaged by the flood of August 2017. All the three children (two sons and a daughter) are continuing their education in a nearby public school and doing well in their studies.

Currently, Rajbanshi along with his rice mill is also working with other farmers from his community. He is doing better than them and has been happily guiding them for marketing their product in the nearby market. He lives life just like anyone else; he is even doing better than them. “I am not rich, but I am also not poor. I enjoy with my life and my independence”, he said.

He has witnessed the barriers and attitudes of the community towards people with disabilities but he also got to see the positive changes in the communities’ attitude. He has no complains for the people who made his life difficult earlier. He says, “I am happy that these people view me as a role model. They will now encourage their children to be self-reliant just like me.”  

Dr Prabin Manandhar, Country Director LWF, “At LWF our programmes focus on empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. We provide them with a platform where they could enhance their skills which will support in their livelihood in a long run”.

Text and photo by: LWF Nepal