This is the second post of the series on disability that Seva Setu will publish this week.
Challenges are inevitable in any journey and social service is no exception. We face hurdles and obstacles on a daily basis. Again kudos to our field team who never let the continuity break regardless of the hurdles they face. One of our main challenges is to garner trust among the villagers. They are always skeptical of a possible hidden agenda when we reach out to them the first time. This is made worse by the fact that we don’t charge money for any of our services. This skepticism is reinforced by the fact that most of these villagers are already victims of charlatans who’ve posed as NGOs and have fleeced them of their money. As a consequence, instilling trust towards our organization and to make them believe that we are there for a specific, constructive purpose is not an easy task.
The second challenge we face is a lack of awareness among villagers. Sometimes they are even reluctant to acknowledge their own rights. They exhibit little or no interest in getting things done. They make excuses or avoid our calls when we try to reach out to them. We have to persuade them to cooperate in each step of the process to avail benefits. Their attitude is a killjoy for our field employees but at the end of the day, we remind ourselves that it is a lack of solid primary education causing this.
Another challenge we face is when we have to apply for a PH certificate of a person who is severely handicapped and is unable to move. Since the presence of the differently abled is mandatory while applying for a certificate, we find it very difficult to get them along to the center where these certificates are processed. Ideally, the government should arrange an ambulance for such people, which we believe is still a distant dream. In these cases, Seva Setu arranges a reserved auto-rickshaw for handicaps. With the assistance of our volunteers, they are carried to the center to apply for their certificates.
In spite of these challenges, we remain firm in our commitment to ensuring pension benefits to each and every differently abled we have surveyed or will survey in future.
In the next post of the series, we will be sharing the complexities and stigma associated with mental illness that we witnessed while working for the differently abled.