Get-hooked October 9, 2020
#GoodNewsSaturday – This blind couple have a new start thanks to a caring gesture
Like many people with disabilities, the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown affected Dhananjay and Anita Bhagat hard. The couple, who are blind, were struggling to make ends meet during the lockdown. Now they have the opportunity to make a fresh start.
A small and meaningful gesture has the power to transform a life overnight. Mumbai couple Dhananjay and Anita Bhagat are discovering that for themselves.
Dhananjay and Anita are blind. Anita was born with a visual impairment and Dhananjay was 10 when he lost his sight after an illness. Before the Covid lockdown, Dhananjay made a living selling dried fish near his basti (colony) in Siddharth Nagar, Mumbai.
“The lockdown affected us badly. My mother, who works as as domestic help, also lost her job. I could no longer sell fish either”, says Dhananjay. He had to borrow money to meet daily expenses. The burden piled up further when he fell ill. “I ended up borrowing even more to meet the medical expenses”, says the 35-year-old.
PwD affected by lockdown
Their hardship caught the attention of Jaimati, a community volunteer with Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA). GBBA is a people’s movement that works to empower marginalised communities living in Mumbai slums. Jaimati shared the Bhagats’ plight with his team and asked if help could be provided to the couple to set up a vegetable cart.
Chhitra Subramaniam, who supports a community kitchen for GBGBA mentioned this to her husband Dileep Subramaniam, who is a sound designer with the film industry. Dileep immediately offered support.
“We gave them the money to get the cart, buy the weighing scale and the vegetables”, says Chhitra. She also did the bohni, or the first sale, which is believed to establish the seller’s luck.
Dhananjay and Anita are now selling the vegetables at a market near their basti. “Its been about three days since we started this and we are still learning the trade. I am selling vegetables for the first time but I am sure I will get the knack soon. Many people in the area are coming to buy from me and I am happy that I have some means to stand on my feet”.
Chiitra and Dileep are happy that they have been able to restore some order and sense of confidence. “Dignity is very important for them and this way they have a sense of confidence that someone is standing by them”.
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