Disabled by fate, enabled by will

How a differently-abled woman is spreading the message of sanitation – by Avichal Chaturvedi

“Where there is a will, there is a way”, goes the popular adage. But like most popular adages, it’s easier said than done. When fate hands us a rough deal, very few have the courage and willpower to overcome the challenge and set an example for the less fortunate ones. Mirda Devi from Garnala Kotda Panchayat in Rishabhdev Block of Udaipur District is one such courageous person.

Mirda Devi is a differently-abled widow living with her son and daughter in law. Ever since her husband passed away, her son has had to shift to the neighbouring district of Ahmedabad in Gujarat to find work as a construction labourer. She lives with her daughter in law and survives on the money sent home by her son with some additional support in the form of disability pension by the State Government. Occasionally she also finds work through the MGNREGA Scheme.

Mirda Devi, Udaipur

The fact that she suffers from a disability has added to the challenges.  Having to defecate in the open was both physically demanding and a socially shameful act for her. Not one to be bogged down, Mirda Devi was inspired by the Swachh Bharat Mission and vowed to construct her own toilet. In doing so, she has not only salvaged her and her daughter in law’s dignity, but also set an uplifting example for the whole village. With adequate assistance from the block SBM team of Rishabhdev, she has now nearly completed the construction of a twin soak-pit toilet.

She is also energetically involved in the construction of a new house sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Aawas Yojana (PMAY-G). The district administration has also motivated her to join a self-help group under the Rajeevika scheme, so that she may find a more stable means of livelihood for herself and her family.

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