Kamala, a physically handicapped young woman from Nadupatti, a small hamlet in Tiruchi district is an independent woman today. With a tailoring shop of her own, she snips cloth and fashions it into attractive apparel with an electronic pedal that helps her operate the machine.

She is one of the eight differently abled persons set up with a store at her doorstep by the Rehabilitation Centre for Blind Women, Mannarpuram under its community based rehabilitation and vocational development programme that aims at making them independent individuals and reliable bread winners.

As part of the ‘Rehabilitation Services Mela', four vocational service projects including a tailoring unit, petty shop, juice corner and tea stall were inaugurated in the villages of Mekkudi, Nadupatti and Kolarpatti by D.Samson Daniel, Medical Superintendent, C.S.I. Mission Hospital; V.Jayapal, Medical Director, G.V.N. Hospital; Z.Mohamed Ghouse Khan, Emergency Care Physician, A.B.C.Hopital and Samuel Devakumar, Arputha Hospital. Four vocational projects including a tailoring unit and petty shops would be inaugurated on Monday in addition to distribution of equipment for children with cerebral palsy.

According to Project Director Vimala Moses, this is the first project of the centre that caters to visually challenged to reach out to other differently abled persons. The project targeted differently abled in three panchayats of Mekkudi, Thirumalai Samuthiram and Mudikandam who were identified through a door-to-door survey by a team of visually challenged women from the Rehabilitation centre.

The team also created awareness in the village community on needs, facilities and government schemes available for the differently abled, besides identifying 68 persons in the villages. Medical, intervention and referral services were also arranged for them. Around 300 children in schools in the villages have been screened for disability and nine with cerebral palsy have been referred to Spastics Society of Tiruchi for physiotherapy training.

Identity cards were secured from the district rehabilitation office and tailoring and bag making courses conducted.

Volunteers have been selected in each village to oversee the progress of the project.