|Shankar tries on his new caliper|
|Ankita learns to walk with the caliper.|
At the beginning of this month the Rickshaw Run Team "Where the tuk is the party" has visited Reality Gives and its partners, read more here. They have brought Rs 70k with them to donate towards various programs. Rs15k went towards the CORP disabled children program and provided two calipers for beneficiaries in need. These are their stories, written by the volunteers Renisha Mall and Vinu Varghese:
As I sit in front of Shankar Pujari, a 24yr old Dharavi resident, I am greeted by him with a big bright smile, as he begins to share his story with me. Shankar, who had been diagnosed with polio at a very young age, has been walking with the help of calipers since the age of 6, after an operation at Haji Ali. He explains his discomfort wearing his present calipers, since they're too short for him & do not support him completely, and was in charms to receive new calipers funded by the Rickshaw Team which fit him perfectly!He has been visiting the Shalom Center since his 8th std which was almost 7yrs ago, and he says that though he found it difficult at first to blend in with his peers, after his first V.B.S course, he says that the center has been like his second home. Having lost his Father at a young age of 7, and his Mother too no longer able to work due to her deteriorating health, the responsibility of fending for the family falls on Shankar & his older brother, with his older brother being the only earning member of the family.
But Shankar too strives to do his part for the family, going for Call Center training in Chembur, he earns a monthly stipend. Having failed his 12th Board exams two yrs ago, after much encouragement from the teachers at the Shalom Center, Shankar decided to give his Board exams once again this year. Walking with calipers, preparing for his Board exams along with going for his Call Center training, Shankar's story is indeed, nothing short of an inspiration.
Ankita, a girl with a vision to be a teacher, is one of those brave girls who at the age of 8, suffers from polio. When she was just 2 years, she had a sever attack of viral fever that left her legs going stiff. She sits in front of me with the calipers that were just funded by the Rickshaw Team. Her legs are supported by these calipers, heavier than her body can carry. A brave little heart, smiling after every question I ask her, she doesn’t speak a word of the pain and trouble she goes through at a tender age of 8. There are few chances to her get her to walk, after all, ‘Hope is something that the whole world lives on.’