Poonamjit Kaur of Shahdra, New Delhi, India, says, “Life tests your stamina and courage in myriad situations. Ultimately it is your will and determination to conquer that comes to your rescue and helps you overcome all odds! My disability opened my eyes to my own true abilities!”
Poonam (29) is originally from Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh. She belongs to a lower middle class family. Her father, a taxi driver recently retired from work. She says, “I wanted to be something in life even though I was a victim of polio. While studying for my BA (Bachelor of Arts) my father received a marriage proposal from a person with locomotor disability. They wanted her to settle down as she was already 28 and also a victim of polio.
Poonam said, “My husband’s family was not in favour of me continuing my studies. Seeing my family’s situation I agreed. I got married in 2016 and shifted to Delhi with my husband. My marriage did not last long. We separated the same year. And I was pregnant. Knowing my father’s financial situation I decided to stay and find work in Delhi. At this point of time – I had nothing – no work, no food, and no shelter. I was very insecure. My aunt and uncle who lived in Delhi invited me to stay with them in their rented apartment.”
Poonam shares her anxieties, “I was just a 12th
pass. I was 7 months pregnant. It was at this time I came in contact with the LRC team (Livelihood Resource Centre) of Cheshire Homes India, Delhi Unit (CHIDU). CHIDU was conducting a ‘Needs Assessment Camp’. The team understood my need. They admired my courage. Even at this very difficult time in my life I displayed strong will power. CHIDU counseled me and encouraged me to take up my love and knowledge for Stitching and Tailoring. I was keen on being self-employed!”
Poonam relates, “CHIDU enrolled me for EDP – an Entrepreneurship Development Program conducted by European Union India Livelihoods Project (EUIL) in collaboration with EDMC (East Delhi Municipal Corporation) and Learning Links Foundation. It was a big challenge for me in my weak financial state, heavily pregnant and a fragile emotional balance. But I completed my 15-day training without missing a single session. I was determined to be independent. I wanted to be financially strong and secure so that my unborn child could receive all the care needed.”
CHIDU presented her with a Self-Employment kit and a Training Certificate in EDP. CHIDU also gifted a sewing machine and linked her with some fabric designers and dress makers so she could get a few orders.
Poonam says, “The trainings developed my personality. Today I own a small tailoring unit. I have been blessed with a beautiful baby daughter. I take good care of her. I must thank my Aunt for supporting me at this crucial stage!”
“I am very happy today. I enjoy my work. I was lucky that I came in contact with CHIDU-LRC. They understood my difficulties and supported me in my ambition of becoming self reliant. I had no one I could depend on except CHIDU. Thank you CHIDU for your support to me in this critical phase of my life,” says a grateful Poonam
CHIDU-LRC is funded by EUIL project. The aim of EUIL is to provide livelihood and employment for 5000 people with disability during its 3-year period. EUIL project is being implemented in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu with the help of 5 partners, one of whom is CHIDU.