'Atma Nirbhar' making physically challenged self-reliant

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Guwahati, June 5 (UNI) 'Navjeevan' is infusing a new lease of life into many, while 'Paropkar' is also benefitting this same group, with 'Sunshine' preparing to brighten up the lives of still others.

These are some of the initiatives by the non-profit organisation 'Atma Nirbhar - Ek Challenge', which is helping physically challenged people etch out a dignified living for themselves with the limited skills they have.

''Our endeavour is to help these persons with physical or mental limitations in earning a livlihood in a respectable manner and become self-dependent,'' Kaushik Das, founder and project coordinator of the NGO, said.

Started in 1996, the organisation has a small tea and spices packaging unit under the brand name 'Navjeevan'.

The workers are paid a stipend of Rs 1,010 to Rs 2,000 depending on their work.

The group has constructed a building on its land, 'Paropkar', with the help of donations and rented it out to help it meet expenses.

''Just as we are making our workers self-reliant, our organisation is also not dependent on donors and sponsors,'' Mr Das added.

At present, 17 physically challenged people, mostly women, are working in the organisation.

While seven of them have speech and hearing impairment, the others are physically or mentally challenged.

Atma Nirbhar will soon launch its new programme 'Spreading Sunshine' for orphanages and destitutes with funds raised from donors, Mr Das informed.

The organisation had also received two national awards - the Helen Keller Award and the National Award, 2000 - for its work for the physically challenged.

UNI XC-SG DPM RN1322

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