Ability in Disability

“A woman’s life is not defined by just marriage and motherhood. There is so much more that women can achieve. I want to be able to achieve a lot in life, just like others, and be an example to all.”

Murugalakshmi hails from Tuticorin and works at Siba Flor, a company producing home decor. She is differently abled and would always feel depressed about being different. She would not talk to anyone at her workplace or go out anywhere. She would not eat well or bother much about her health, though she needed to take care of herself. She was plagued by a self-inflicted inferiority complex. Murugalakshmi was selected to attend the Foundational and Advanced training under the Women in Factories programme and it changed her life. The programme helped to build her confidence and self esteem, and she realised that she was no different from others. She began to look after her health and adopted healthy eating habits. She began to eat well, stopped skipping her meals and shared learning about nutritious food with her family members. Her mother has begun to include a lot of green leafy vegetables as part of their diet. Murugalakshmi’s haemoglobin levels were low at 9, and after she began to consume a nutritious diet, it increased to 12.

Murugalakshmi is part of a self-help group in Tuticorin, and she shared information on nutrition with the SHG members. Though the women were reluctant to listen to her initially, one of them made a nutritious meal which her son liked. Slowly, the women began to show interest and started using low-cost ingredients to prepare nutritious meals for their family members. Murugalakshmi conducted a nutrition competition for the members and also gave each of them a prize to motivate them to sustain this practice.

Murugalakshmi’s parents were sad that whenever they looked for a suitable alliance for their daughter, she was rejected because she is differently abled. Murugalakshmi motivated her parents by saying that she can be a single woman and yet achieve a lot. She says, “Disability is only in the mind, it’s not physical. One can achieve whatever they want to, if they just put their mind to it. The Women in Factories programme changed my life. It taught me that I am no different from others, I can do just about anything that others can. I want to aim big, and achieve just like many other women in this world”.

Murugalakshmi found a partner who accepted her for who she is. She began a new chapter in her life as she got married recently, knowing fully well that she is the author of her story and that she can write her life chapters any way that she wants.

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