Transforming Lives: Puneeta’s story
cbm works with disabled people in the poorest countries of the world. It shares a common vision with Life Unlimited for an inclusive world in which all persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential. cbm shared this story about their work in India.
Puneeta lives in a village in Uttar Pradesh, one of the largest and most populated regions of India. It is home to the poorest people in India, many of whom rely on agriculture for their livelihood. A large number of these people are subsistence farmers living with a disability, who find access to their fields very difficult.
Twenty years ago, when Puneeta was 5, she was afflicted by the polio virus which left her paralysed in both legs. Since then she has had to move by dragging herself along the ground using her hands.
Four years ago cbm started an organic farming project in Uttar Pradesh which encouraged sustainable economic development and assisted farmers to lift themselves out of the cycle of poverty. Since then cbm has enabled 530 families with disabilities to transform their lives and plans to help a further 240 families in the next two years.
As part of this project Puneeta was given advice on how to apply for government funding to finance her special wheelchair tricycle. She was also given advice on how to start beekeeping. She was supplied with modified beehives which she could access from her customised tricycle, so she can check the health of her bees, feed them and remove the honey. The beehives now generate 84 litres of organic honey a year which is sold at the local market.
In addition to the beehives, Puneeta has been supported with a machine that is used for extracting oil from mustard and sunflower seeds grown locally. She purchases the seeds from local farmers, extracts the oil and sells it as an organic product at the local market.
These changes have transformed Puneeta’s life.
“I have an identity of my own. It was not the case earlier when I was seen as a burden. People with disabilities are often left behind as family members see them as a financial burden.”
Puneeta’s new-found confidence is the result of her journey with a cbm-supported disability-inclusive organic farming project which was set up for local farmers.
cbm NZ Programme Officer Karen Jack who has spent time with Puneeta said “there are literally hundreds of people like Puneeta who need this chance to lift themselves out of the cycle of poverty and disability”.
More about cbm
cbm is an international Christian development charity that seeks to support those living with the double disadvantage of living in poverty and with a disability. cbm provides diversified services where needed most in the areas of eye care, ear health, livelihoods, education, rehabilitation, Neglected Tropical Diseases, advocacy and emergency response. Last year cbm provided medical services to over 10,500,000 people across 63 countries.
To find out more please visit http://www.cbmnz.org.nz/