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This visually impaired couple is illuminating lives of disabled women in Kerala

Shaji P and Laila P M

A visually impaired couple in Kerala is illuminating the lives of countless women with physical disabilities through arts and crafts training. Shaji P and his wife Laila P M of Perumpilavu in Thrissur are empowering women with physical disabilities to be self-reliant by providing them training in art and crafts apart from helping them to earn a livelihood from the skills acquired.

The couple has also established a training center named ‘Vibhinna Vaibhava Vikasana Vedi’ in 2013 where these women gather to explore their creative potential. From painting to pottery, sewing to sculpting, the center offers a diverse array of artistic disciplines, providing a platform for self-expression and skill development. Shaji lost his eyesight when he was in 10th grade following nerve damage in his brain, while Laila, a music graduate, is partially blind since birth.

“At our center, we don’t see disabilities; we see capabilities waiting to be unleashed,” said Shaji, a history graduate who did his vocational training in umbrella making, candle making, and furniture making. “My training in these vocations is helping me to empower these women,” Shaji told “Open Digest.”

Currently, they are providing training to 15 women that include divorcees and single mothers. The couple also has given shelter to five women in their home. Though life has thrown multiple challenges at them after their seven-year-old younger son has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, the couple continues to radiate positivity in the life of others spreading compassion.

“We are really happy that we could create a tiny bit of happiness in the life of others through our small mission,” said Laila. “We feel content when we see these women leading a self-reliant life after mastering a skill,” she said.

Their journey, marked by resilience and compassion, has not only defied odds but also inspired a wave of positivity and hope. The training program not only helps the women hone their artistic talents but also learn essential business skills to transform their creations into sustainable livelihoods.

The couple’s life serves as a poignant reminder that, in the face of adversity, the human spirit possesses boundless potential to illuminate even the darkest of times.

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