Pravin sleeping on bed

An Open Window of Hope

Everyone has a series of ups and downs. From childhood, I had the opportunity to learn everything I wanted. I received training in various areas to support my livelihood as an adult. But these dreams were short-lived. The untimely end of my dreams started with a sharp pain in my spine. The pain increased gradually, compelling me to go to the hospital. We thought it was a muscular strain, perhaps. But the doctors were unable to explain my symptoms.

A few years later, we encountered a neurosurgeon who identified a tumour in my spinal cord. We were shocked. Upon the doctor’s recommendation, I underwent surgery in 2018. Unfortunately, the procedure was unsuccessful, causing permanent damage to my spinal cord. It paralysed me, restricting me to my bed for the past four years.

My parents and I live in the Amravati District, Maharashtra. My mother quit her job as a daily wage labourer to care for and support me. Her leaving her job and my being paralysed cut our family income by half. At 36 years of age, I felt like I could not contribute in any way.

Negative thoughts clouded my mind when I was confined to a room without a window: without any means of communicating with the outside world. I wished for a window. I wanted to feel the wind, the days transitioning to nights, and talk to my neighbours.

CBM India Trust and The Leprosy Mission Trust India reached out to me through the Udaan Project in 2020. They helped me get my disability certificate, a pension of Rs. 1000/-per month, and membership in the Organisation of People with Disabilities.

When Mr Suresh Donge, Project Udaan Programme Manager, visited our residence, he asked me about my dreams and needs. I told him I longed for a window to look out of. Within a week, they installed a window where I could see the clouds and sun, feel the breeze, and talk to my friends and relatives. I felt like I was part of the world again. The project team also gave us ideas to improve our financial situation and encouraged us to start a catering business.

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