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This new platform aims to help people with disabilities live life with love

Going online is a perfectly common and acceptable way to finding a life partner in India. For people with disabilities, however, that can be a daunting prospect especially given the stigma they face.

Love Actually.me is a new venture that aims to change that. This two-month-old venture is the brainchild of three people, Tanushree Sharma, Rajneesh Sharma and Krishna Parulekar.

Tanushree lost her mother to cancer in 2010 and since then she has been determined to work for differently abled people. Her positivity made us realize that people whom we call differently abled are positive and fuller as they value their life. - Rajneesh Sharma, Co-founder, Love Acutally

Loveactually.me is an online and offline platform across India. The aim is to encourage people with disabilities to be out and about talking about themselves, support and encourage others.

The founders plan to do this by organizing four meet ups every year apart from workshops. The cities they are looking at are Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, to start with.

"People with disabilities tend to find it hard to form friendships or relationships," says Sharma. "The reasons vary from a sense of awkwardness, low confidence and health issues. We want to help them meet new friends and create a community that will help them break out of their shells."

What makes Love Actually.me different from other similar initiatives is that it plans to go beyond the relationship space. "Our workshops will enhance their confidence through image consulting, interview preparation, public speaking, etc. This is upscale their confidence that will lead to a good job and good partner," says Sharma.

For Jasmina Khanna, who is a Senior Systems Engineer with Atos Syntel in Mumbai, the appeal lies in the multiple aspects the venture looks at.

"Love Actually is thinking of a relationship beyond friendship," says Jasmina. "It's a good initiative and a new concept too as dating is considered a taboo in India for people with disabilities."

Vinayana Khurana, a young woman with a disability from Delhi, sees the launch of the initiative as a positive sign. "I am happy that such initiatives have been started for people with disabilities. It will help curb the stereotypes regarding love and relationship around disabled people"

Love Actually.me plans to hold its first meet up very soon in Mumbai so watch this space to stay updated.

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