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SHILLONG: “Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul,/And sings the tune without the words,/And never stops at all,” said Emily Dickinson in her poem Hope is the thing with feathers.
The success stories of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) as revealed in the annual report on the Implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, in the state of Meghalaya 2016-17 speak volumes of the people who battle all odds sparking hope and inspiration for others.
A person with hearing impairment, Banjoplang Nongsiej, who earlier worked as an assistant programmer at National Informatics Centre, Shillong and developed government websites accessible for PwDs.
The report stated that he was solely responsible for developing the sign language videos in these websites.
He successfully completed B-Tech (Computer Science) from Kalasalingam University in 2012 and he was the first B-Tech student from the North East among the hearing impaired.
Nongsiej is well-acquainted with the art of playing the piano and has completed his piano grade-I from Trinity and secured first division with distinction in English and Mathematics.
Another person with hearing impairment, Hubert Paliar from Mawrok village in Nongstoin, was trained as a professional baker and joined a business unit called Home Delights Bakers and Confectioners.
Having an interest in football and arm wrestling, he won the first place when he participated in the Meghalaya arm wrestling championship in May 2015.
Taking his love for arm wrestling to a different level, he bagged a gold medal in the 60 kg category when he participated in the 40the National arm wrestling championship held at GH Raisoni Polytechnic in Maharashtra.
Another PwD who lost his eyes at the age of six in a fire incident, Polgen Sangma, toured more than 300 villages for the last 12 years to identify PwDs and link them to programmes such as SSA, CM Social assistance schemes. He was recruited by the Bethany Society CBR Team to work in West Garo Hills.
Sangma also trains persons with visual impairment in Braille, Orientation and Mobility, functional Literacy and numeracy and agriculture.
He has initiated at least 15 disabled persons’ organisations in different blocks of West Garo Hills and is a leader in promoting the rights of persons with disability through advocacy with the government, the report stated.
Born blind, Kelvin Suting of Moosakhia, Amlarem Block in West Jaintia Hills, was enrolled in Roilang Livelihood Academy in 2001 where he picked up skills in cane and bamboo handicrafts and broom making and enterprise development.
Having opted for loans from the National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation, he set up his own business in broom making in 2009 and repaid the loan in record time.
He took a second loan and support from the Industries Department and currently has five persons working for him and has organised his own marketing chain in Shillong.
An ambitious Suting also set up a fishery pond through the Fishery Department.
Armed with one-year training as masseur from New Delhi, he is known for his massage skills in his village as well as in Shillong.
Another PWD who became disabled at the age of 1 and half year due to sickness, Mai Mai Laloo from Loompyrdi Iongpiah, Jowai completed his Bachelor Degress from Ferrando Speech and Hearing Center, Ri-Bhoi District undergone training in making artificial limbs and also completed Diploma in Acupressure from Mumbai.
A sports enthusiast, he has represented the state in football and sports for the handicapped held in Delhi and were also selected from North East to represent the deaf and dumb conference held in Australia.
Laloo also won the Arm wrestling competition in Meghalaya and was chosen to represent the state and bagged the silver medal in 75 kg in the 40th National Arm Wrestling Championship 2016 held in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
Diagnosed at 5 years old with Bilateral Severe to Profound hearing loss, Ewarika Passah was admitted in School and Center for Hearing and Handicapped children in 2007.
When she was 9 years of age, it was found that she began to express her thoughts and ideas on drawing many beautiful pictures.
As per the report, Passah has the talent to draw the finest of pictures including human figures. On May 11, 2016, she took part in the interaction programme in Raj Bhavan with then governor V. Shanmuganathan in which she presented him a crayon sketch of his picture done by her.