Rashmi Rekha Das

Our Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi had once said “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
A disability may be present from birth, or occur during a person’s lifetime. However, when one thinks of names like Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking, and closer home, names like Sudha Chandran, Arunima Sinha, Rajendra Singh Rahelu, one must be sure that these are not just disabled people. In fact, they are people with very special abilities.  

Most of us take our lives for granted. Despite being physically fit, we keep complaining and making excuses. And there are differently-abled people, who have proved that one does doesn’t need two hands, legs or eyes to succeed. All you need is willpower and determination.  

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, OTV brings the tales of two such women who have amazed the world with their courage, determination, strength and amazing will. They overcame all the obstacles they faced and never let their disabilities come in their path of glory. With their determination these extraordinary individuals have made a difference in the lives of a lot of people.

Mamata Rani Panda runs an Anganwadi Centre at Chudapali village in Bolangir district. She walks with the help of crutches. Despite not being able to walk properly, she entertains students while taking their class so that students would not find her class boring. Today, she introduces herself through her disability, without an ounce of self-pity. 

Though she is a born disabled, disability is a state of mind for her. From her early life, she has always tried not to be dependent on others. Mamata has completed Bachelors of Arts on her own and set up an Anganwadi Centre. She has been looking after it for past 13 years without an iota of regret. Even after getting better job offers, she prefers to continue at Anganwadi Center.

Mamata said, “Despite being a differently-abled person, I never feel that I am a disabled. Students under the age-group of five learn everything from their mother. That’s why,  I found it interesting to do job as an Anganwdi teacher. Though I have got many job offers, I did not switch over other organizations for the sake money.”

Meet another disabled girl Sarita Nayak of Rourkela. The wheelchair-bound Sarita has carved a niche for herself in the art field. Apart from being a painter, she is a dancer and singer.

She loves to keep herself engaged throughout the day. She prepares diyas (earthen diya) during Diwali. And she prepared boats during Kartik Purnima. Besides, she prepares crafts from waste materials. 

Sarita said, “I do drawing, make various crafts using waste material, I also do dance and sing.”

“I would like to request mothers of such daughters that they should not feel upset for their giving birth to such souls. Rather we should feel proud of them. We must be grateful to the Almighty that He has given us an opportunity to serve those souls, said Sarita’s mother.