Families, and society in general, consider persons with certain disabilities as liabilities and they are often discriminated against. But there are a few who see strength in these ‘differently abled’ persons and enable them to lead a life of dignity and make their contribution to society. Gyanendra and Monica Purohit belong to this rare category of people. For the past 12 years they have instilled hope in hundreds of hearing and speech impaired persons through their unique approach of empowering them with skills and enabling them to access their rights, as well as changing the attitude of government personnel and society towards persons with disabilities.
Like any other young man, Gyanendra had a dream of becoming a chartered accountant and had cleared the foundation course. But something unexpected happened that changed his future. On 31 May 1997, his speech-impaired elder brother, Anand, went missing. Five days later, the Purohits were informed by the police about Anand’s death. He died after being hit by a speeding train in Nishatpura area of Bhopal.
“That day changed everything for me. I put aside my dream of becoming a CA. Instead, I decided to work to fulfil the dreams of my elder brother, whose body was buried as unclaimed by the police,” recalls Gyanendra.
Jacob Peenikaparambil is a trainer and consultant to non-profit organizations and presently a team member of Universal Solidarity Movement (USM) Indore. He is also a writer and a columnist for Indian Currents. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org