Valliammal (Tamil Nadu)

Valliammal (Tamil Nadu)

Valliammal was a poor young girl full of dreams and ambitions. Her childhood was as happy and normal as that of other kids her age. However, life had a different plan for her.  During a dispute between her neighbour and mother, Valliammal was accidentally scalded with extremely hot water on her leg, resulting in nerve damage and locomotor disability that hindered her free movement. Despite this, her resilient spirit thrived, fueling her desire for independence and self-sustainability.

Despite facing challenges due to her disability, Valliammal completed her basic education. However, as she grew older, societal norms and limited opportunities for people with disabilities hindered her aspirations. Her mobility was also constrained, requiring her to use a small-wheeled wooden plank for movement.

In 2016, Valliammal’s life took a positive turn when she encountered CORD worker Deepa. Deepa recognized Valliammal’s potential and provided her with skill development opportunities and the means to achieve financial independence. Although Valliammal was receiving a disability pension, her main challenges were mobility, livelihood, and social inclusion.

CORD, understanding her situation, encouraged Valliammal to join a tailoring class in Viraliyur with skilled trainers. Concurrently, Valliammal became involved with the Gnanavinayakar Mahila Mandal, engaging with fellow villagers and receiving encouragement to refine her tailoring skills. Gradually, she became proficient in tailoring, gaining confidence in her ability to earn a living.

To support her further, CORD collaborated with the Rotary Club to facilitate the purchase of a custom sewing machine tailored to her needs. They also ensured her workspace was accessible. Additionally, CORD focused on improving Valliammal’s mobility, partnering with Young Indians to provide her with a hand-operated three-wheel cycle and arranging for eye care to enhance her vision.

Despite initial skepticism from some villagers about her capabilities, Valliammal, with the backing of her Mahila Mandal members and CORD, overcame these obstacles. As she began earning Rs. 2000 per month through tailoring, CORD introduced her to paper cover-making, enhancing her income potential. Valliammal’s dedication and the support she received from CORD transformed her life, demonstrating that physical limitations are not an insurmountable barrier to success.

Today, Valliammal is a fulfilled individual, with her Mahila Mandal being her family, friend, and support system, a testament to the power of determination and community support in overcoming adversity.