Phoolkumari Pas tending to pigs
Phoolkumari of Veshka Pokha Kori, Manjanpur,Kaushambi, a mother of five, lost all hope at the young age of 30, when she became totally blind. Her damaged retina was responsible for bringing desolation and hopelessness and dejection into her world.
Her despair deepened when she realized that her loss of sight prevented her from earning livelihood, which was rearing pigs. It also prevented her from doing house work and, most importantly, taking care of her five children. Poverty too, was now a more severe problem, as her husband, a laborer, was left as the sole breadwinner to fend for their family of seven. They had landed into a major catastrophe; feeding the family was now more than an uphill task-- where and how they would find money for the treatment of her eyes! The only way they could find money was going to be by selling her pigs.
This tough decision had to be taken, as trying their best to restore her eyesight was obviously their top most priority. Therefore, without delay the pigs were sold. The money that came in was to be used for her treatment, but to find a good and reliable Ophthalmologist was the next great challenge. Fortunately, following a great deal of struggle, this too was managed and the treatment begun.
Sadly, on completion of the treatment, with all the money gone, Phoolkumari could get back very little of her lost sight; she could see things up to a distance of only two feet. The little sight she got back was of hardly any use. She still could not take on her former responsibilities. She was completely shattered, there seemed now to be no way out of this dark life. She was only 32 and had her whole life ahead of her. What was she going to do? Who will bring up her children and who will take care of her and her home? It was more than apparent that her husband’s meager earnings were never going to be enough to take care of all their needs, no matter how modestly they tried to live.
It was in this condition that one of our field workers located her in the village. In order to facilitate easier interaction, a female field worker was introduced, who immediately started taking Phoolkumari into confidence and putting her at ease with her empathy, counseling and advice. Phoolkumari responded most favorably to the kindly and timely assistance of the lady field worker. In fact, she poured out her heart to the lady, with her sorrows and frustrations flowing out as tears! Our field worker consoled and reassured her by giving her examples of other successfully rehabilitated blind persons and also told her of the many possibilities that awaited her.
Soon, Phoolkumari was filled with a new hope and her doubts and apprehensions about how a blind woman could do all household work, as well as participate in income generating activities, were cleared. Once Phoolkumari was reasonably motivated, her three-month long training programme commenced. All the basic skills needed for doing household chores as well as aspects of independent orientation and mobility were taught to her. She learnt all these skills with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm. And, then, she was overjoyed when she was trained and helped to recommence her pig rearing activity. Now she once again would be able to help supplement her family income.
Phoolkumari was now not only a willing learner, but also an intelligent and motivated pupil. The moment she was reasonably prepared to take on independent charge of her work, she was given a loan of Rs. 10,000 to buy her stock of pigs for her business. Through her pig rearing income-generating activity, she would be able to earn about 6 to 8 thousand Rupees in six months’ time.
Now she has overcome her earlier grief and sorrow and is happily engaged in looking after her home and family independently. The sun did rise for Phoolkumari and her family after a very dreary, dark night! Her troubles are over and the family is well on its way to happiness and productivity.