Adolescents and young adults in any community once out of school find themselves at cross roads of life. it is more so for young aspirants from impoverished and marginalised societies. When social injustice and caste discrimination hold back young people, they can be at risk of succumbing to extreme views and the temptations of the underworld.
Anne and Vincente were well aware of this possibility for the children who grew up through their welfare schemes. Therefore, they organised advice and training programs on livelihood scheme. Beneficiaries of the livelihood schemes not only earned a living, but in many cases were the sole wage earners for their families. Through their businesses they positively contribute to the societies they live in. There are cases where beneficiaries in turn advised and guided the younger generations that followed them in their villages.
FORDT has arranged small grants to such young aspirants to invest in buying milch animals and establish small businesses like fruit and vegetable vending, provision stores, cycle mechanic shops, tailoring, barber saloon and the like. Some case studies are included at the end on this page. A breakdown of a recent such donation is also included.
Apart from donating, there are a number of ways of contributing to such schemes. Anyone wanting to get involved is welcome to contact FORDT via the webpage.
Govinda Naidu was the recipient of a sewing machine. As a tailor, he financially supports his family and trains other people in need so they can become independent.
When I was six, a bus hit me from the back and broke my right knee. It was long before I came under RDT's welfare scheme and so I was to a private hospital where I did not receive the correct treatment. I could not put my foot on the floor and had to tiptoe or walk with the help of my friends. I would often fall down.
My father was an alcoholic and neglected the family. My mother was the only one earning so, when she died, I realised that I had to leave school and work to take care of my two brothers. I started a vegetable business to pay for their studies and our food. We did not get much help from our relatives.
In 1995, I got married. We had two children: Sreekanth and Ajay Kumar. Ajay suffers from muscular dystrophy. We went to many hospitals and RDT paid for all the medical bills. It is a chronic condition and all we can do it to take care of him with love. At this stage, he cannot walk or sit.
I have been the leader of the self-help group for persons with disabilities in my village for many years and worked very hard for improving our living conditions. I got a lot of support from my mates. If I am able to walk nowadays is because they brought my case before RDT and I got my operation covered by the organisation.
I wanted to become a tailor and asked many people to teach me the skills but no one really helped me. Finally, I ended up teaching myself. I started my business with an old stitching machine. It was a real struggle. In 2016, Friends of RDT UK granted me a new machine and, since then, my clientele hasn’t stopped growing.
I now have three machines with which I employ and train poor women or other persons with disabilities. I provide for all my family and people respect me. I could have never reached here without the support of RDT and the self-help group
Pushpavati suffered from polio, affecting her mobility. Now as the owner of a sewing machine granted by FORDT, she runs her own tailoring business.
When I was one year old I was affected by polio. The virus paralysed my right leg from the knee to the toe affecting my mobility since childhood.
I belong to a family of farmers. We have a small plot of land where we cultivate peanuts and some rice for our own consumption. Due to last year’s severe drought, we also lost our groundnut harvest. We do not have a regular income and, as a family of five, it is often hard to make ends meet.
My disability was one of the reasons why I decided to quit school at 10th grade. Mulapalli is so small that we only have a primary government school. For my secondary education, I had to walk two kilometres every day to get the bus to Talupulla. It was so hard just to get there… Then I failed economics and English and lost all my motivation.
I did not know what to do with my life. I stayed at home for a year and often helped my parents in the field picking up tomatoes. I realised that I could never work like them. This is when I thought I could learn tailoring.
Some relatives told me of a six-month residential course funded by the government. It was perfect for me. I joined and learnt how to stitch women clothing.
I joined RDT’s self-help group for persons with disabilities when I was in 8th grade. In the group we have access to a mini bank for savings and loans. We also support each other, talk about our problems and we learn about government resources, health issues, etc.
It was through the group that I was selected to receive a sewing machine, through the livelihood program of Friends of RDT. Now I can run my own little business from home and can contribute to the family economy.
Many people bring their clothes to me. I love what I do and I do it well. My future plans? First, I want to improve my embroidering skills and then I want to buy more stitching machines so that I can employ two more people with disabilities. Teaching them will make me happy.