A few years back, 45-year-old Rangamma was at the lowest point of her life – abandoned by her husband and estranged from her children due to mental health issues. The society had labelled her as “mad,” leaving her neglected and alone.
When our partner Gramina Abyuday Seva Samsthe (GASS) came across her story from her neighbours, they sprang into action. She was taken to the women’s hostel run by GASS, where she received medical care along with the support she needed to get better.
As Rangamma began to recover, she was enrolled in training for Areca plate production. During the one-month training, she was curious and involved and took the initiative to master the skills. Now employed in our Areca Plate Production unit in Rural Bengaluru, she operates the plate-making machines independently, serves as a master trainer, and guides others. She even takes charge in her supervisor’s absence, ensuring a smooth process.
Surrounded by a supportive community, Rangamma has regained her zest for life. She managed to care for and nurture her reunited family through the hardships of the pandemic. Today she is confident, happy, and proud of how far she has come.
She shares, “Now I’m happy. I don’t think about my past anymore… This is my home, and they are like my children,” pointing at her colleagues in the Areca production unit. She has come a long way from being unable to care for herself to fostering strong friendships and relationships through her recovery journey. Often, one can hear Rangamma humming her favourite songs or even singing for others at work, making people smile.
The laughter and joy in the unit are not just one-offs from Rangamma. All the employees here share similar happiness and pride in how far they have come. From being looked down upon to becoming respectable contributing members of society, this unit has been the turning point in their lives.
Established in 2021, this inclusive, accessible, and eco-friendly Areca Plate Production unit was brought to life through the collaborative efforts of our partner, GASS, and the support of CBM India Trust. It focuses on providing skill development and employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. It has empowered 35 individuals with employment and has consistently generated substantial income for long-term sustainability.