International Day of Disabled Persons, a global awareness promoted by the United Nations since 1992, kicked off Sunday, December 3rd this year. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are unaware of this observance that aims to raise awareness about disability-related issues, while assembling support for the welfare of people with disabilities.
Forty-two-year-old Hardeep Singh Babba, a resident of Tung Bala, a locality in Amritsar, India, may be uninformed about the International Day of Disabled Persons; however, one thing that he definitely knows about himself is that he doesn't want people to feel sorry for him despite his physical disability.
In an effort to earn enough money to live without going into debt, Babba sells cloth whitener and phenyl by visiting houses in different communities on his tricycles. It's worth noting that he has a state government-issued disability certificate, but he still prefers to live a self-dependent life.
“My disability was a major huddle in my schooling. I dropped out after primary school. I was totally dependent on my parents until the age of 20," Babba told TribuneIndia.
I am from a laborer family so I can’t beg money or food from someone. Later, my father couldn’t work due to his old age, so I bought a second-hand tricycle and started selling phenyl and neel (cloth whitener) 10 years ago,” he added.
As soon as Babba began supporting himself financially, he asked his father, Joginder Singh, to find a suitable partner for him. Considering his request, Babba's parents organized his marriage, and now, the couple has two daughters.
It was hard for Babba to just sit at home doing nothing productive. But much to his chagrin, his disability certificate didn't prove to be helpful in getting him work.
"Though the governments make tall claims, getting employment for disabled persons is almost impossible," he says.
Every time he went seeking a job, the interviewers offered him some money. He deemed this behavior as unnecessary sympathy and decided to start his own business. Although he manages to only earn half of what a labor earns per day, Babba says he is happy.
Babba lives in a single room house at Tung Bala area. He is not satisfied with what the government is doing to help individuals with disabilities. According to him, the government should encourage skill development for people with disabilities to let them lead a self-reliant life.
"They have schemes but there is no implementation on the ground level," he remarks. (Image Credit: SGENET/Pixabay)