Passing by the village market, looking at a snack shop, with the owner making hot, spicy samosas (Gujarati snacks), tasty fafdas and sweet-sweet pendas (Indian sweets), weighing and counting them, packing them, selling them and keeping accounts - is absolutely common, isn’t it? But, if the owner is a person with deafblindness (who cannot see or hear or speak), then? You felt surprised, didn’t you? Rajesh, who is now 30 years old, is one such man who runs his snacks shop with his father. Do you want to know, how he achieved this status?
Rajesh was born deaf and until the 4th standard, he studied in the local school for the deaf. But after that, he began to lose his vision and by the age of 12, he lost his vision completely. His deafblindness also snatched away his contact with the world outside home. His home became his entire world, and his parents became his sole partners. Being a teacher for the deaf, his mother began to teach him signs used for the persons with hearing impairment with tactile adaptations. Gradually, he began to help his mother in household work and father in making sweets.
When field-workers from BPA identified him, he was 18 years old, still continuing the same home-confined life. The field workers saw lots of potential in this young blood, and started planning for his transition.
They began with observing his daily routine and found that he was helping his parents with household tasks as well as in making sweets, etc. He was also found to have very good intellectual ability. Thus he prepared the list of abilities Rajesh had.
They spent hours in discussion with his parents; from which they came to know that Rajesh and his father both shared the dream of having their own Sweet-Shop.
They also understood that the parents were scared of sending Rajesh out of the home due to many reasons, but the major was safety. So, they started encouraging the parents to allow him out of the house. Along with that, the field worker started training Rajesh in mobility. Initially, they brought him to the common places e.g., temple, market, etc.
In a short time, with this focused training, Rajesh started moving freely and independently in the village.
Now, the time came when they started encouraging both the father and the son to realize their dream, to have their own sweet shop. Rajesh already knew how to make samosa and pendas... He was also provided training using the weighing machine and doing simple calculations.
When, both of them were prepared for starting a shop, the implementing agency, Aashirvad Viklang Trust helped them to identify and buy space in the market place and also funded them for starting a shop.
Finally, the day came when the family was proud of starting a shop. Rajesh has now become a skilled businessman and he is the equally contributing member of the family as well as society.
In the video below, you see the confidence that Rajesh has in himself and his abilities. Never inhibited in his dreams, he has pushed the field worker to help him learn all that he wants to do. In the video below, Rajesh uses his orientation and mobility skills to find his way independently to work. He prepares the dough, rolls out strips, fries them in hot oil, and produces a delicious looking product. He makes a variety of sweet and savoury items. When customers indicate the item and the amount they want, he weighs the snacks checking that the weight is absolutely perfect, wraps them in newspaper, tying it with string and makes sure the cash paid is correct. You see him back at work, this time making little triangles filled with sweet or salty potatoes and deep fried. At the end of the video, he even rides a bicycle in the street. (In Gujerati)