Read how this blind woman sarpanch from Gujarat is challenging notions about disability & gender
Sudha Patel is the youngest elected sarpanch of Changa village of Petlad taluka in Gujarat's Anand district.
Patel, who is in her forties, is blind but she recognizes every villager by his or her voice and is dedicated to helping them.
Patel's father was a sarpanch for 10 years and her mother is a home-maker. Initially, people in Patel's village were unaware of her capabilities. They regarded her as just a woman without sight.
It was when Patel gave them an idea of how infrastructural development can change Changa, that they all started believing in her.
While campaigning to become sarpanch, Patel just asked the villagers to have faith in her and her work. Over the years, she has installed water pumps and borewells, and opened schools for children.
She has also rented eight lakes in her village, creating income up to Rs eight lakh for Changa. The village today is fully developed with good hospitals, conference halls, and every person is educated till class 10. Every school has computers too.
Patel now works as a project coordinator in a private trust in Anand that works to help children with physical disabilities. She has received the award for Outstanding Woman Panchayat leader of India.