A couple, though sightless, with visions of joy - Rishu Devi

Rishu Devi selling wares to a girl at her cosmetic store

In our survey, we discovered a newly married couple, both blind. Rishu Devi, the 20 year old wife, and blind since birth, had as an additional handicap birth into a low caste family (India's caste system is too well known to bear repetition.) On our initial visit, we found her participating in house work: she was washing dishes. She refused to talk to us, referring us to her husband and mother in law. The mother in law was actually supportive; though saying how can I let my newlywed daughter in law start participating in any program. We showed her the economic benefits of our programme and how it would enhance the quality of life of the whole family, which was large, with an elder married couple and two brothers in law.

The family was poor, surviving on the earnings as daily wage labourers of the male members. Rishu herself was mentally and emotionally stable. However, she was unwilling to trust anybody, including us. Her initial training period was difficult. She was often easy-going and timid, like a new bride, which she was. Coming from a socially backward family (low caste families often have limited access to education), additionally poorly educated, the concept of disciplined and systematic training was alien to the family. Then the often-found resistance of using a white cane. However, concerted efforts, especially of our Project Officer, resulted in her acceptance of all the parameters of our training - O&M and DLS. Importantly of money recognition.

Being a young bride, she was fascinated by items of cosmetic usage. So we trained her to start and run a ladies cosmetics store and to add on to it, general items of everyday use. We talked to her through mobile and found that she was quite happy by opening her new shop. Our discussion with her was only on 3rd day of opening of the shop but she was quite confident that she will earn at least Rs. 100-150 per day through her shop. She is quite hopeful to have led to a comfortable life for not only her husband and herself, but for the whole family. She has also started commanding respect within the community as a person who is now earning. The newlywed couple has visions of a joy-filled life thanks to DAB.