Disability is not Inability
Adjusting life with a disability can be a difficult transition, but there are ways to help them to cope with limitations, overcome challenges and build a rewarding life. Everyone who knows Dhiji, 38 years old inspiring women entrepreneur who built a business based on art and craft, from kootanad, Palakkad, know that she is a better room of motivation. The effect of early childhood poliomyelitis left paralysed her major share of life.
The major supporting system was her family which consists of her mother and a younger brother. The school-days were priceless. She went to the school sitting on her father's cycle but it didn't last longer since the school was far away from their home and gradually it became difficult to reach the school and school life began to shrunk. She had lost the use of both legs and confined to a wheelchair but she didn’t give up learning crafts that can do with hands like painting, designing Caparisons and making paper pens. She realized creating something through arts and craft can make a sense of competence and greater self-esteem. For her, craft is a source of enjoyment and satisfaction. The reason is her struggle for independence despite her physical limitations. Dhiji is very much attached to the family and friends, they all help her to overcome the difficult situations in life.
"While creating something beautiful or useful it feels a sense of pride and personal growth. Being creative is a way to enhance the emotional, physical and cognitive well-being." Dhiji says.
Creating art keeps her mind stimulated and helps to prevent emotional
imbalances. Her masterpiece is Caparison crafting and this beautifully designed handicraft materials are widely used for wall decoration, offerings to temples and souvenirs. She designs these in different sizes based on the customer’s request. She is extremely specific to document and upload the images and 'ready to buy' products on the Facebook page so that the customers can place their orders.
Dhiji is the governing body member of Sahayathra Charitable Trust and Taluk Joint Secretary of AKWRF (All Kerala
Wheelchair Federation). Various organizations conduct camps in order to unite the persons having disability and
provide vocational development training. The handicrafts made by Dhiji are also sold during these camps. Paper pens and umbrellas are being sold through the schools. Schools invite her to teach the craft making for the children’s and she is always happy to be with children and always love to motivate to them.
Sahayathra Charitable Trust has great influence in society because it mainly focuses on the upliftment of disabled persons. They join and engage in activities like soap and washing powder making on a weekly basis. There is a tailoring unit and physiotherapy centre as well.
Dhiji was awarded on International Woman's Day 2018, for the most dedicated practitioner in field of arts and craft. 2019 the Vanitha Parliament- a group of women in the kootanadu organized an event in order to appreciate the efforts taken by Dhiji in field of arts and crafts.
Dhiji's dream is to find the people who hopelessly hide in their home blaming their disability and motivate them to come out, help them to realize not to focus on disability, overlook on their abilities, beauty and uniqueness and providing a space to teach about the arts and crafts.
"Adapting to life with disability is never easy. All of us obsess over what we’ve lost. However, while you cannot go back to time to a healthier you or wish away your limitations, you can change the way you think about and cope with your disability. You are still in control of your life and there are many ways to improve your independence, sense of empowerment and outlook. No matter your disability, it’s entirely possible to overcome the challenges you face and
enjoy a full and fulfilling life."-The words by Dhiji to the fellow members.
The words by Dhiji to society: "Different people look on disability in many ways, the person with disability is considered with sympathy, many of them are isolated and people maintain a social distance and treat disabled as outsiders. Disability is natural, we must stop believing that disabilities keeps a person from doing something, because this is not true. Having a disability doesn’t stop me from doing anything."