Though life with spinal cord injury is quiet challenging especially in a country like India, there have been few who eventually find our own way to cope with challenges and become contributing members of the society.
Gynecologist Dr.Mary Verghese, who after her spinal cord injury after an accident during 1954 got trained in Physical medicine and rehabilitation and became pioneer in the field of rehabilitation of persons with spinal cord injury in India.
Peers who had their injury during 1970s like Thiru.S.Ramakrishnan who went on to become guiding spirit in the field of rehabilitation for persons with disabilities, Thiru.Rajagopal & Thiru.Elangovan went on become respectable businessman & accomplished mouth painter respectively. All three continue to inspire persons from all walks of lives.
Thiru.Raghu Naidu, a practicing farmer who after his spinal cord injury & rehabilitation at CMC, Vellore during 1980s actively practiced farming for next 25 years till his last breath taking care of his family, Raghu’s life story continues to inspire others.
With coming of computer age and internet, past decade and half saw local spinal cord injured peers here in Tamil Nadu venture into computer programming, back office jobs, content writing, graphic designing and data entry. Spinal cord injured peer Thiru.Minnur Mahadevan of a remote village in Vellore district who after his injury & rehabilitation in CMC during early 90s has transformed himself as an entrepreneur earlier dealing with marketing media tapes and cassettes, later into CDs, VCDs, DVD, DTP and now into multimedia graphics works adapting to market dynamics. Person like Thiru.Veeramallu who had just completed his higher secondary and working as a construction labor had his injury at work, post rehabilitation continued he continued his education and got trained in the area of computer programming, Veeramallu is now a Project Manager in a major software company.
Institution like MVT(Mary Verghese Trust) in Bhagayam, Amarseva Sangam, Agape Rehabilitation Centre, CHESHIRE HOME – Chennai and Jeevana Jothi have helped to vocationally train spinal cord injured peers with skills like tailoring, home appliances servicing, book binding, mobile phone servicing and in the areas of computer like DTP, Graphics designing & Programming to help them rebuild their lives and earn their livelihood. Across Tamil Nadu some peers with SCI are into marketing financial products, others into taking tuition classes at home. Livelihood initiative of Mrs.Vidhya of a fashion boutique helped train some of the SCI peers during 2014 with tailoring skills and stitch nighties and help them market those nighties to meet their living, her mission continues.
Also 2013 & 2014 saw five peers with spinal cord injury take up competitive exams get placed in various State Government department in their line of expertise and this gives hope for others with similar challenges to follow them. Candy manufacturer, Thiru.Gnanasekar who struggled with his routines after his accident that paralysed him waist down during 2010 went on to expand his business after undergoing proper rehabilitation at CMC Vellore.
We also have peers from rural parts of Tamil Nadu like Thiru.Poosari of Chettyarpatti village and Thiru.Venkataboopathy of Vadapudhupati Village actively practicing agriculture, and Thiru.Arunagiri of Pillayarkuppam in Pondichery & Thiru.Manikkam near Pollachi into Poultry business, also youngsters like Harshavarthan of Namakkal, Pawin kumar of Mettur and Kumaraguru of Radhapuram in Villupuram district are actively into business like pickle manufacturing, automobile servicing and marketing Insurance products respectively.
Peers like Thiru.Venkatabhoopathy thru Ramji Trust, Thiru.Vanthiyadevan of Manampoondi village in Villupuram dt & Thiru.Ravichandran of DAWN trust in Vadugapalayam near Coimbatore have helped other peers to get trained with job skills like tailoring, manufacturing cleaning materials and in computers.
Mrs. Mahema Devadoss, post-graduate in english who became person with quadriplegia after an car accident(1972) in which she was driving, couple were vacationing India, they were working in USA at that time.
1. Spoken English classes at her home
2. Children’s books
And about Mrs.Mahima’s husband Mr.Manohar Devadoss, a scientist who’s vision started diminishing around the time of Mahima’s accident.
Manohar as an artist doing pencil sketches(greeting cards), started taking care of his wife and their daughter who was 10 at the time of the accident. How the couple balanced their challenging lifes without affecting their daughter’s life. Couple of books and many news articles have been published about this couple. Mahema took care of marketing those greeting cards done by her husband, and major part of the sales of those greeting cards went for charity.
Yes, life after spinal cord injury is quite challenging, but possibilities exist and above referred peers are the shining examples.