‘Vetri’, the name given to a small shop run by two polio-affected women at Town Hall does also symbolise their victory over disability.
The shop offering services including online passport registration, PAN card and DTP, was started two years ago by H Hema and G Kalpana with support of several others struggling with similar difficulties. “I wanted to show the world that I can do everything like others,” says Hema of Vellalore whose left leg was paralysed at the age of one-and-a-half years. Hema is pursing BA English through distance education and wishes to become an IAS officer. She has also represented India in International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation’s Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Montreal, Canada in 2012.
For Kalpana from Mettupalayam, whose both legs were paralysed three months after birth, life was a game of survival. Having lost her parents, she was brought up by her mother’s sister. The BA Tamil graduate wants to go for IAS training like Hema. Though both like to modify the modest shop to an advanced one, banks are reluctant to grant them loans.
Rendering support to people like her is Kanniyappan, president of Coimbatore District Differently Abled Welfare Association. His left leg was paralysed when he was four-and-a-half years old. “While government and international bodies spend huge money and efforts on polio vaccination, people like us are often ignored. Most polio-affected persons are not given pension on the grounds that the percentage of our physical disability is below 60 per cent,” he says.