We are Both Disabled! A Marriage of Appreciation

The contemporary society has set a trend of caring for oneself. Caring for others is entrusted to nurses and professional caregivers. However, caring for each other is an innate characteristic of human bonds. The institution of marriage is built on various emotional dynamics and one such important aspect is care. The couple cares for each other and shares responsibilities. However, there are differences in the measure of dependability and care. There are several discourses on the concept of care in relation to disability. The present article attempts to examine the coalescence of reciprocated care and interdependence in the marriage of a disabled couple with the help of direct narratives.

Using qualitative enquiry, the paper tries to accentuate the narratives of two disabled couples wherein one of the partners has low vision and the other partner is hundred percent blind. The narratives emphasize how these couples perceive care and how it gets manifested when there is some shared space in terms of presence of disability and its difference in the degree of impairment. Couples were chosen through personal contact and their consent was sought before including their narratives. Moreover, couples who live in a nuclear set-up were chosen in order to minimize the interference of other sources of care.

The article tries to delve into the manifestation of care between couples wherein both the spouses are disabled and initiate dialogue on care from their own standpoint. The first narrative relates the account of Meena and Maniraj (names changed), a couple with disability. The wife is hundred percent blind and the husband has limited vision. Meena admits that her married life with Maniraj is ideal. Nevertheless, she does not regret her premarital life with her family. However, she feels a part of everything in her married life, whereas she felt alienated before. She says that her husband has enabled her to stretch beyond her confines.

Meena recalls the initial disillusionment she felt as a person with visual impairment marrying a person with similar disability. She had hesitated to accept Maniraj in the beginning owing to the difference in their caste and religion, the latter being a Christian and the former a Hindu. However, she identified the integrity of this proposal and grew resolute. Despite the resistance from Maniraj’s family, they married and, at present, live contentedly with a three-year-old child.

Meena observes that the care she received from her parents and siblings was out of responsibility, while the care which she received from Maniraj is utterly out of love. Further, she says that Maniraj has many friends, who are visually impaired and he assists them all. Generally, he is very considerate and caring. Maniraj renders emotional as well as physical support to his wife. Meena and Maniraj share a common experience in terms of disability. Maniraj cannot drive, but he can read and move around.

Meena and Maniraj are a working couple and share their household chores. Meena is solely in charge of cooking and Maniraj contributes to other domestic responsibilities. In addition to this, Meena appreciates Maniraj’s shopping skills and says that he has a very good taste in clothes. He not only does the shopping, but also involves Meena in it. He helps Meena in buying clothes they both look good in.

Maniraj makes Meena feel that she is very important. Further, he teaches their daughter to respond orally to her mother’s calling. Meena and Maniraj participate equally in every decision making. They have arguments and differences but like any other couple compromise and sort things out.

The second narrative is about Ganga and Veer (names changed), who are both disabled. Ganga has limited vision and Veer is completely blind. It has been over ten years since they married. It is an inter-caste marriage. Veer belongs to the Brahmin community but Ganga is a non-Brahmin. However, it was an arranged marriage. Veer confesses:

Basically, I’m not a very confident person, so I was looking for a partner who could also be my caretaker. In my earlier days, my prayer used to be: it is fine even if I never have sight. But I need the spirit to lead my life as a visually impaired person and find a suitable life partner who doesn’t make me feel bad about being blind. I also prayed to get a good job which would make me financially independent. I don’t know what god thought; he has made my both prayers come true.

Veer affirms that, by and large, sighted individuals hardly ever come forward to marry a blind person. Even parents find it difficult to go and speak to prospective candidates who are non-disabled. Veer and Ganga’s parents confronted similar difficulties and finally settled upon the match between their children. Ganga is a very caring wife. She takes care of all the household tasks. She is a homemaker and industriously takes care of her husband.

Nonetheless, Veer cannot deny that he feels dependent on Ganga. He wishes to be self-reliant at times which he dismisses as a common tendency. He performs heavy lifting tasks at home. Therefore, they live a rather ordinary life where the wife manages the home and the husband earns their living.

Veer and Ganga share the responsibility of making decisions equally. Veer chuckles that Ganga has more influence in making decisions inside the home, whereas he steers their outside affairs. The couple travels far and wide. They do not hesitate to travel. Ganga is good with her communication skills. When asked about feeling inferior, Veer replies:

I have never felt inferior to my wife in terms of difference in degree of impairment or in terms of compromising socially sanctioned gender roles. I completely accept my disability and I’m fully aware of what my potentials are. I’m dependent on someone to carry out my needs; it is the simple reality. And my wife is there and she is helping me so I don’t feel any difference. If we accept the reality, we won’t have any problem, but if we don’t accept it, it will be a big problem.

Veer is interested in learning about innovative technology that would make them more independent. In fact, he is very adept when it comes to assistive technology. Simultaneously, he also teaches his wife how to access the computer and mobile phones. So, Veer feels that they strike a balance when it comes to mutual dependence.

It is most essential to acknowledge the perspective of the spouse whose disability is of a lesser degree to understand if they also feel cared for. According to Maniraj, he has been a part of a special community right through the period of his education. He has experienced his own limits and inability and this makes him appreciate his wife better. Though his parents had opposed the match, he believed firmly in his decision to marry Meena. He is aware of his wife’s contribution to their family and he takes responsibility for tasks which require his assistance. He feels cared for by his wife who tends to the kitchen and other domestic chores. Further, he says, “When it comes to our personal life I feel a sense of completion.”

Likewise, Ganga is very happy and contented about sharing her life with Veer. She finds her marital life to be a very regular one. Like any other wife she believes in serving the needs of her husband. She has no complaints that her husband is unable to do certain things. In fact, she takes pride in her husband’s accomplishments. She is financially dependent on Veer and respects his opinions. She feels cared and provided for. In return, she meticulously takes care of the house and offers her help to Veer whenever required.

From the above narratives, one can trace the evidence of relationships that challenge common notions of care, where the care giver is commonly seen as powerful and the care receiver is identified as weak. The narratives signify how the awareness of one’s own self as disabled and having a shared experience with the partner, who is also disabled, establishes the importance of interdependence and how it facilitates to minimize the power imbalance between the disabled couple. However, one can also follow the ways in which mutual care and the difference in degree of impairment between the couple, determines patterns of negotiation in establishing a familial conformity that upholds patriarchy as a norm in marital relationships.

Bios:
Shruthi Venkatachalam is a full time doctoral scholar at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. Her areas of specialization are: disability, gender, and access to justice. She has attended many national and international conferences both in India and abroad. She is an active social worker.

Dr. M. Anjum Khan is an Assistant Professor of English in Avinashilingam University in Coimbatore. Her expertise lies in literary history, culture, and literary theories. She has presented and published papers and chapters in books. She has also authored a book on a less known community. She has five years of teaching and eight years of research experience. She supervises the research work of Masters and M.Phil. scholars.

 

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With not even one per cent being disabled-friendly, colleges are difficult to access for many

According to the new disability law, any college being planned must make provisions for the disabled. But the question is how many of them will comply.

It is a testimony to how far we are from realising the dream of smart cities that not even 1% of India’s 789 universities, 37,204 colleges and 11,443 stand-alone higher education institutions are disabled-friendly. This startling statistic was revealed by a forum for disabled students. Since 1995, when the government made it mandatory for educational institutions receiving aid from the State to reserve 4% seats for people with disability, there has been little improvement in the situation. Despite the enactment of the Right to Education Act in 2009, which promised free and compulsory primary education to every child in the country, less than 0.1% of India’s 2.68 crore people with disabilities are enrolled in schools. As they move from primary to secondary and higher education, the figure drops to a dismal .01%.

The dearth of infrastructure that facilitates access for the physically challenged — ramps, railings and accessible wash rooms – is just one of the reasons which prevent them from pursuing their studies. There is the absence of trained staff and alternative teaching aides. In order to compete with their peers, the partially sighted, for instance, need specialised books and material in Braille. Those are seldom provided. In the last decade, since the non-profit Samarthyam’s Centre for Accessible Environments began conducting access audits for educational institutions, co-founder Anjlee Agarwal doesn’t recall coming across even one college that can be termed disabled-friendly.

Despite the laws having acquired more teeth to deal with this issue, our planners and builders remain apathetic. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill passed in 2016 sets the government a two-year deadline to ensure that those with disability get barrier-free access in infrastructure and transport systems. Additionally, it holds the private sector — builders and developers — accountable for creating an accessible environment. This, experts say, is a departure from the 1995 act which was largely toothless. The punitive action for non-compliance can be a five-year prison term. So, in accordance with National Building Code announced in 2016, any new school and college being planned has to be 100 per cent accessible.

Since building by-laws are a state subject, implementation across the country is uneven. The few exceptions to this appear to be government-led initiatives in Odisha, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Still, putting up a ramp here and a disabled-friendly toilet there doesn’t really turn things around. One measure of a civilised society should be the sensitivity it displays towards the disabled. If a chunk of the 2.68 crore physically challenged people in the country cannot board a train, watch a movie or operate an ATM owing to lack of access, and if we make it difficult for many of them to attend college, all the talk of a demographic dividend amounts to little.

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Analysis of Financial inclusion for the differently-abled people

Three years ago, from ramparts of the Red Fort Prime Minister Modi had spoken about financial inclusion which has since then successfully made a paradigm shift in banking penetration. Now, after opening new banking accounts for most households, we must move to the next stage where benefits should reach the silent majority of those individuals with disability.

  •  India, a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in effect from May 2008, has an obligation to comply to the convention which promotes, defends and reinforces human rights of the disabled.
  •  As the 10th year of compliance to one of the most comprehensive human right treaty of the 21st century approaches, India needs to take a look at its efforts for the disabled.

What is the status of differently abled?

  •  Disability refers to an individual who lacks abilities to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.
  •  The country has about 2.7 Crore people categorised as Persons with Disability (PwD).
  •  This mainly comprises of people with blindness, low vision, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, mental challenges and mental illness.
  • Those with locomotor disability account for the largest share (20%) amongst the differently abled followed by those with visual and hearing disability.
  •  Nearly 69% of PwDs stay in rural areas.
  •  Only 1/3rd of this differently abled population are working out of which 31% are in agriculture.
  •  ILO claimed that around 75% of PwDs in India are still outside theworkforce.
  •  PwDs account for only 0.5% of total workforce in the organised sector.

Financial inclusion till now

  • Consequent to the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana, nearly 99.9 per cent of households now have a bank account. A bank account implies availability of financial resources, for livelihood purposes, at reasonable rates without being at the mercy of greedy money lenders charging exorbitant interest rates.
  •  India, though unrecognised, has been a pioneer in financial inclusion starting with nationalisation of commercial banks in 1955, 1969 and 1980, and undertaking various initiatives such as priority sector lending and encouraging microfinance institutions for higher banking penetration.
  •  However, following continues to restrict financial inclusion of certain sections of society, especially the disabled- Lack of awareness, Poverty, low income, Illiteracy and Inadequate branch network

Who are the disabled in the country?

  •  The country has, by extremely conservative estimates, about 2.7 crore people categorised as persons with disability (PwD). Census 2011 shows that nearly 69 percent of PwDs stay in rural areas and only one-third of this disabled population are working, out of which 31 per cent are in agriculture. Those with locomotor disability accounted for largest share of 20 per cent amongst the disabled followed by those with visual and hearing disability.
  •  In fact, though not included, a large number of 11 crore elderly also struggle with similar disabilities impacting their banking activities.

In view of the diversity in the issues faced as well as types of disabilities, necessitate a need for multi-spectral approach to ensure financial inclusion of PwDs.

Global practice

  •  To address the issue of financial inclusion of the disabled, global practices vary.
  •  International guidelines for web accessibility are followed by countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the US. It ensures multiple formats of information like audio, braille documents and larger font size, and images with text description.
  •  Tactile keypads optimized ATM locations, ramp facilities, larger screens, audio output, low tables, specialized privacy standards during banking operation are features ensured in Australia, Sweden and the US.

How can inclusion be achieved?

  •  Factors such as lack of awareness, poverty, low income, illiteracy, unemployment and inadequate branch network continue to restrict financial inclusion of certain sections.
  •  Majority of the financial services including banks do not take a favourable approach in providing financial support to the differently abled.
  •  Design and Technology – Banking services should be made accessible for the nearly 3 Crore special needs population.
  •  The RBI guidelines to banks in this regard include directions –
  •   to provide cheque books, ATM and locker facilities to the visually challenged.
  •  to provide for ramp facilities and tactile keypad at  ATMs.
    • to not deny services on grounds of possible risk in operation of banking facilities .
  •  International practices

Multiple formats of information like audio output, braille documents, larger font size, larger screens, images with text description, low tables, specialised, and privacy standards during banking operation can be adopted.

  •  Assistance  

In view of the diversity in the issues faced as well as types of disabilities, including the elderly people, a multi-spectral approach to ensure financial inclusion is required.

  •  Government needs to consider providing financial assistance and assistive equipment to PwDs and their families to meet out various expenses.
  •  Employment  

Government can also consider incentivising private sector to encourage recruitment of PwDs.

  •   Training the service providers, including banks and sensitising the general population of the special needs of PwDs so as to bridge the cultural gap in employing them would be beneficial.
  •  Governments and welfare

oriented institutions should share the responsibility of providing the differently abled a dignified life.

Why people with disabilities need special attention in the country?

  •  As per the 2001 Census, there are around 2.19 crore persons with disabilities in India.
  •  They constitute 2.13% of the total population of the country. This includes persons with visual, hearing, speech, locomotor and mental disabilities.
  •  Despite these numbers, there is a lack of understanding of their needs, and people with disabilities face a number of obstacles when it comes to living a normal life, and availing banking facilities is a big part of the problem.
  •  Making banking accessible for people with disabilities is both a best practice that should be followed, as well as a sound commercial decision.
  •  There are a large number of people in India with differing levels of disability, who would benefit from using banking services. Additionally, the number of people will only increase with time as India’s young population grows old, since incidence of disability increases with age.

Hurdles for disabled people to access banking services

  •  Many disabled people, especially in rural India, find it difficult to sign bank documents, and are denied ATM cards, cheque books and Internet banking.
  •  The majority of commercial banks have archaic rules in their statute books which debar people with disabilities from opening independent accounts.
  •  Persons with disabilities are compelled to produce witnesses every time they visit banks to make online transactions through real-time gross settlement and national electronic funds transfer.
  •  Disabled customers are also perceived as dependent on their family members; they are seen as lacking independent agency to make their own decisions.
  •  In many rural areas, if a visually impaired person or a person with low vision walks into a bank to open an account, most banks don’t comply. Bank officials often insist that the person should open a joint bank account with a person with sight, or open an account with no ATM card/cheque book facility or both.
  •  The situation is worse for those with hearing impairments and intellectual disabilities. If a person who is deaf visits a bank for availing the benefits of a scheme or service, the branch more often than not lacks the manpower to understand or interpret sign language.
  •  People with psycho-social disabilities are the worst hit — they require a guardian to sign a contract on their behalf.
  •  Disabled people are also denied also loan facilities. A majority of banks refrain from offering insurance to people with disabilities.
  •  Despite the RBI stating that banks have to take necessary steps to provide all existing ATMs/future ATMs with ramps so that wheel chair users/persons with disabilities can easily access them, most ATMs remain inaccessible.
  •  A person with a learning disability, for example, dyslexia, will face severe difficulty filling out an application form (or any document for that matter) and banks are not disabled friendly in terms of the attitude of the staff towards such difficulties.
  •  The problem is exacerbated by the fact that around 75% of persons with disabilities live in rural areas, and only around 49% of the disabled population is literate and only 34% is employed. Although one may find some rare cases of disabled-friendly banking options in the metros, in the rural areas, there are neither facilities nor is there any sensitisation towards meeting the needs of the disabled.

What needs to be done?

  •  There is specific Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notifications that mandate banks to offer banking facilities in a non-discriminatory manner to all customers. The adoption of accessibility features and technologies in Indian banks today is very low, despite there being a legislative as well as executive push for the same. Banks which do not follow these guidelines are not meeting their legal requirements. RBI should ensure that all banks follow these guidelines.
  •  There are several international guidelines which can be referred to while formulating policy on banking accessibility, such as guidelines on ATM construction and modification (USA) and guidelines on making websites accessible for people with disabilities (the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), as well as voluntary standards that have been taken up by banking associations in countries like Australia and New Zealand in order to make banking more accessible to people with disabilities and the elderly population.
  •  RBI should ensure that the bank staff is sensitised to the needs deaf customers, and know of a sign language translator who can be called if a customer requires it. Bank staff should be sensitised to the needs of blind customers, and ensure that there is a customer care executive who is present when a visually impaired customer needs assistance with a particular service.
  •  Another important step that needs to be taken by different banking institutions is ensuring that their ATMs and branches are accessible through a ramp, so that it is physically possible to reach from the road or other public area. Within the bank, there should be special provisions for people in wheelchairs or crutches, such as a designated queue and teller, so that they do not have to wait in queue for a long period of time.
  •  State and national governments should encourage opening of bank accounts by the disabled so that any funds or scholarships can be directly transferred into their account as opposed to being given to organisations which may not transfer it to the beneficiaries — this would help curb malpractices.
  •   Financial service providers should tailor accessibility solutions to address each kind of disability and the range of problems faced by the persons affected by them; they should look at best practices from around the world and implement solutions on their own steam instead of minimum compliance with the government or RBI requirements.

Constitutional Provisions in this regard

Part III of the Constitution of India, which deals with the fundamental rights of citizens, recognizes the principle of equality of all people.

  •  Article 14 states that the government must accord equal protection of the law to any person within the territory of India. This recognition of the importance of non-discrimination means that the state must ensure that people with disabilities do not suffer disadvantages when it comes to accessing public services.
  •  Article 15, which deals with prohibition of discrimination on various grounds states that no citizen is to be subject to any disability, liability or restriction with regard to access to shops, public restaurants, and other public places.
  • It is evident that this important constitutional protection extends to people with disabilities, and it is their right to gain equal and accessible access to all manner of services, including banking.

Fact Sheet

  •   PwDs in India: 2.21% of total population, 26.8 million in number
  •   Namma Vaani: an interactive voice support system which provides virtual networking for disabled accross Karnataka.

Causes of exclusion

  1.   Exclusive policies
  2.  Framework for monitoring
  3.  Disability: state subject, education: concurrent subject
  4.  Education of differently abled children is the responsibility of two ministries: MoHRD and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  5.   No provision for early childhood inclusion of children with special needs in India.
  6.   Need for complete and valid data.

Recent Initiatives

National education Policy 2015: Inclusion of PwDs

Stand Up IndiaComponent for the Disabled.

Special Needs of PwDs in Skill training

  1.  Include attitude and life skills development
  2.   Parent Development
  3.   Peer-to-peer training
  4.   Need for counsellor and psychiatrist to skill people with psychological disabilities

Recent Initiatives

  1. National Skill Policy: provision for skiling people with disability
  2.  Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability(DePWD) created in Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It has in initiated new programs like:
  3. Accessible India Campaign
  4. National Action Plan for PwDs
  5. Skill council for PwDs

Challenges

  • low mobility
  • physical barriers
  • low level of education about financial products
  • scattered population

Government Response

National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation(NHFDC) which supports both credit( Self- employment loans, educational loans, MFI) and non credit based activity( skill training and scholarships)

Issues

Inefficient steps till now

  •   As in advanced countries, the Government needs to consider providing financial assistance and assistive equipment to PwDs and their families to enhance probability of livelihood or directly provide jobs to PwDs.
  •  The Government, given its mandate, could also consider incentivizing private sector to encourage recruitment of PwDs.
  •  In 1977, nominal reservation of 1 per cent for specific disabilities in government jobs was introduced and extended in 1995 to 3 per cent. However, the Government and public sector institutions have achieved limited success.

Poor workforce participation

  •  Several studies show that on an average, PwDs account for nearly 0.5 per cent of total workforce in the organised sector. ILO claimed that 73.6 per cent of PwDs in India are still outside the workforce.
  •  To tap the potential of demographic dividend, it is imperative to equip and enable the youth amongst PwDs to be at par with the rest of the cohort.

Entrepreneurial ventures facing financial hurdles

  •  Entrepreneurial ventures are one of the means for the disabled to be financially independent, free from discriminatory and sometimes stringent requirements of mainstream employment. But unfortunately, PwDs face multiple societal hurdles. Majority of the financial services including banks do not take a benign approach in providing financial support to the disabled.

Way ahead

  •  The RBI guidelines must be taken seriously. The guidelines to banks includes providing cheque books, ATM and locker facilities to the visually challenged, ramp facilities and tactile keypad at ATMs and to not deny services on grounds of possible risk in operation of banking facilities.
  •  There is also an issue in terms of identifying the magnitude of disability leading to preconceived notions on capacity of the individual. Hence, cultural brokering can be an effective means of training the service providers, including banks and sensitising the general population of special needs of PwDs so as to bridge the cultural gap.
  • In this age of technology, banks have embarked on a slew of innovative strategies to woo the general public. We have been witnessing a lot of tailor-made financial products and services for general customers.
  •  However, there is a common perception among bank officials that disabled people do not require banking products and services.
  •   The call for financial inclusion is a distant dream for disabled people who face harassment from financial institutions across the country.
  •  Banks and companies that offer insurance policies are not yet ready to accept disabled people as respected clients.
  •  India is a signatory to both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006 and Biwako Millennium Framework towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for PWDs in Asia and the Pacific, 2002 and thus has an international obligation to ensure equal access to all members of the population.
  •  This obligation extends to giving people with disabilities the right to conduct banking services. This has been recognised by several Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directives as well, although these guidelines have not been fully implemented so far.

Conclusion

  •  In an emerging economy like ours, it is very important that government and welfare-oriented institutions play an important role and share the responsibility of providing the disabled a dignified life.
  •  It also makes economic sense, as according to World Bank, ensuring employment to the disabled can help in enhancing economic growth.
  •  Banking services should be accessible, in terms of design and technology, for the nearly three crore special needs population.
  •  Accessibility should not be treated as a corporate social responsibility measure by the large banks and financial corporations, but as a responsibility to be fulfilled regardless of anything else.
  •  The RBI and the government need to take punitive action against those errant officials and banks that contravene the RBI’s guidelines for providing banking facilities to disabled people. We must uphold the spirit of Article 41 of the Constitution (Right to public assistance for the disabled).

Expected Questions

  •  The journey for financial inclusion in India has been interesting one. But it’s time we take it to next level and ensure inclusion for differently abled. Discuss.

Syllabus

General Studies 2

  •  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
  •  Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

General Studies 3

  •  Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  •   Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

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A day out for differently abled with winged visitors

Battling the cold with sparkling enthusiasm, as many as nine differently abled members of the Chandigarh Spinal Rehabilitation Centre went for a bird walk excursion to a bird watching spot located at the Sukhna lake, along with members of the Chandigarh Bird Club, here on Thursday afternoon.

With most of the indoor patients of the facility belonging to age group of 24 and above, the excursion was conducted as part of an annual visit organised under the aegis of M S Sekhon, head of department of geography, DAV College, Sector 10, and president, Chandigarh Bird Club. “Being differently abled, we cannot exclude them from the outings and other nice things in life,” said Sekhon while speaking to TOI.

The bird walk that began from the regulatory end of the lake, commenced from the parking area beyond the Nature Interpretation Centre and witnessed an amazingly efficient support staff comprising physiotherapists, nurses and other kinds of helpers, pushing the wheelchairs of patients through the muddy terrain of the birdwatching stretch.

Peeping through the specially designed binoculars, Ashish (25), a paraplegic patient at the facility, said, “I had seen these birds last year as well. They were nice. The weather was the same though. It was the same kind of cold.” Kaushalya, one of the indoor patients at the rehab facility, said, “I love coming here. I love nature and I am enthusiastic about a lot of things like swimming.”

Numerous senior members of the Chandigarh Bird Club, an eight-year-old group of the city comprising young officers, bureaucrats and teachers among others, educated the differently abled individuals about the different species of birds like barheaded geese, coots, common pochard, tufted ducks, black headed geese, little grebe among others. “I just love being a part of this group because I am a nature lover and this lets me explore that side of me while also appreciating Chandigarh as a city,” said Amandeep, a club member.

 

Most of the patients admitted at the rehab facility have been dealing with spinal injuries arising out of road accidents and bullet and knife wounds among other causes. Speaking to TOI, Prem Jit Singh, a physiotherapist at the facility, said, “Most of these patients here have been living in our facility for a few months now. They also have their family members here with us as well. They are from all over the country and have also come from places like Bengaluru and Kerala. Spinal injuries leads to paralysis, making them paraplegic and quadriplegic.”

 

When asked about the occupational background of the patients, he said, “Most of them have jobs and businesses and some of them are students too. Each time they take a break for a few months, they come to our facility for treatment and support.”

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