“Do not let people tell you that you can’t do things because of a disability”- My Take by Aamina
In My Take this week, we have Aamina, a wheelchair user from Kollam in Kerala. Aamina is a renowned social worker and founder of ‘Ilam Thennalay’, a charitable trust based out of Kerala. ‘Ilam Thennalay’ in Malayalam means ‘like a soft breeze’. Through her kind actions and deeds, Aamina tends to the needy and is truly a comfort to them in many ways.
I was born and raised at Pathanapuram in Kollam. I was affected by polio at the age of two but had a very normal childhood. In fact, my parents did all that they could to ensure that I attend school like just every other normal children who do not have a disability.
My parents and siblings have always been very supportive. Even at school, all my friends and teachers were kind to me. They never looked at me as a disabled child. So school was fun and exciting. Accessibility matters did not affect me much. During my school days, no one has hurt me or told me anything negative.
So I can say that I had a great childhood. The world was indeed bright and colorful. It still is!
Venturing into social work
I decided to start ‘Ilam Thennalay’ with the help of some friends. I’am the chairperson of our charitable trust that reaches out to the needy across Kerala. ‘Ilam Thennalay’ was started a year back and I have all the support from my group. There are over 100 members already.
Apart from our monthly charity events, we also help patients who have kidney problems, those who are unable to afforf food and even patients undergoing dialysis. Our group also reaches out to those are in urgent need of blood.
Most of our activities are conducted through social media and WhatsApp. “I’am the only disabled person in the group. We have people from all social strata like police officers, NRI’s, gulf-returned Malayali’s and so on”.
Leading an independent & successful life
After completing my class 12, I did an under-graduation from Open University. I started my own poultry farm around six months back. Thankfully, the lockdown has not affected my business and its going full-fledged. I did not get any government support to start my venture and I did not seek for it either. The farm was started by me on my own. MLA Ganesh Kumar has been very supportive in many of my ventures. I also got a scooter from the state government which has been very beneficial to me.
I started going outdoors since the past five years. I believe disabled people face a lot of discrimination and insults even today. That is so disheartening. When we go to a shop to buy fruits or fish, they sell us stale products because they know we are unable to go and check the product in detail. That is the attitude of the society towards disabled people even today.
“For some disabled people, their family members do not allow them to step outdoors. They are hesitant, maybe because they are scared or worried. I came out only through my own efforts and I’am glad that I did that. It is important to step outdoors even if you have a disability. Self-respect is important”.
You can contact Aamina at +91 99959-37624.
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