Raghunathan, a resident of Nelvoy Panchayat, faces severe muscular dystrophy, resulting in extremely limited limb mobility. His elder sister, Kaveri, also suffered from similar conditions, rendering both siblings heavily dependent on their mother and elder brother for basic needs.

In 2011, CORD Thamaraipakkam introduced the Community Based Inclusion and Rehabilitation (CBIR) program in Nelvoy. During his initial visit to Raghunathan’s home, Sri Silambarasan, a CORD staff member, was deeply moved by the siblings’ poor health and living conditions, which included the absence of basic amenities like a toilet. Initially, Raghunathan’s brother, Raja, was skeptical of Silambarasan’s intentions, perceiving him as an intruder and doubtful of any potential improvement in his siblings’ conditions. However, through persistent counseling, Silambarasan earned the family’s trust.

He facilitated the acquisition of disability ID cards and a monthly pension of Rs 1000/- for each sibling, easing the financial strain on Raja. CORD gradually provided mobility aids like a scooty and a wheelchair. Although the siblings’ conditions limited their use of these aids, CORD arranged for a Community-Based Rehabilitation Volunteer to assist them in getting outdoors twice a month. Additionally, a physiotherapist was brought in monthly to teach them gentle exercises and breathing techniques, significantly improving their health and reducing body pain.

Recognizing Raghunathan’s talent in drawing, CORD provided quality art supplies and arranged for an artist to tutor him, enhancing his skills. Raghunathan’s art was so appreciated that one of his paintings, gifted to Pujya Guruji, earned him a return gift of Rs. 5000/-, marking his first income from art. This money was used to build a toilet in their home. With CORD USA’s assistance, Raghunathan has earned over Rs. 1.5 lakhs from his artwork, including unique ethnic designs on CORD’s camp bags.

Furthermore, CORD supports Raja’s farming endeavors, assisting in activities like Azolla cattle fodder cultivation and organic manure production. Raghunathan’s mother is encouraged to maintain a kitchen garden, while his nephews, Shivaranjini and Abhirami, participate in an adolescent girls’ group, gaining knowledge and skills in jewelry and incense stick making.

CORD’s intervention has transformed the living conditions of Raghunathan’s family. While Raghunathan remains physically challenged, his spirit and circumstances have drastically improved. He now participates in CORD’s annual differently-abled empowerment day as a motivational speaker, embodying a transition from a life constrained by disability to becoming a role model for the specially-abled community.