Ganesh casts of the stigma of disability
In Nepal many people live with the stigma of disability. In fact, about 1 in every hundred people in the country have a disability of some form. The Hindu worldview of karma means that disabilities are often seen as the result of the person doing something wrong in a past life. Or their parents may be blamed if a child is born with a disability. The stigma of disability can bring shame on the whole family and the person may be hidden away in shame.
INF’s Community Based Rehabilitation programme, which began in the 1970s, aims to transform the lives of people with disabilities and empower them to take an active part in their society. It not only helps people directly, but educates communities so that they become more accepting, and value people living with disability.
Ganesh’s story is a great example of how a life can be changed through support from INF’s work.
Ganesh was 25 when he had an accident which left him with an injury to his spine. Having lost his ability to walk, he became depressed and turned to alcohol. The cost of the treatment left his family in poverty.
It wasn’t until INF started a self-help group in his community that Ganesh found hope. He received training in hair dressing. Now he runs a small business cutting hair that gives him a regular income of about 650 Rupees (£4.50) a day. This money means that he is able to support his family again, and the job brings him a sense of dignity and purpose. But it also gives hope to others with disability.
We are grateful to God:
- for people, like Ganesh, who demonstrate that it is possible to throw off the stigma of disability
- for continuing opportunities to help others, like Ganesh, for whom disability has brought rejection and despair