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According to a conservative estimate, there are 60 million disabled people in India, 82% of whom live in extreme poverty. Within this demographic, disabled women are particularly marginalized and suffer from dramatic social consequences including familial neglect and exclusion from educational and employment support services. Women and girls with disabilities are pushed so far to the fringes of society that there is little information available about their needs. The Indian Government is trying to mitigate this issue through legislation, but the delivery of these solutions has proven to be slow, inadequate, and largely unsuccessful. There remains a substantial gap between what is required by these women with disabilities, and the services that are available to them.
Margadarshi has worked for 25 years to address the needs of disabled people in India, and this project will support the needs of 30 women and girls with disabilities and little or no means of autonomous support. This project will ensure that these individuals are given residential care, medical care, physiotherapy and vocational skills to help them develop positive leadership and life skills. These vocational trainings help the women to create bags, envelopes, and cardboard boxes which they can then sell. Trainings also include handicrafts lessons where they learn to paint on greeting cards and crafts. While at Margadarshi, these women will be engaged throughout the day in productive activities to live a life of dignity in a caring environment. The educational pursuits of younger residents are assisted by providing transport to and from school as well as tutoring help. This project will allow Margadarshi's Home for Disabled Women to provide these support services for its residents for one year, as they continue on their path towards becoming autonomous, contributing members of society. The Home supports the women until they are financially stable, after which time they will move out to lead an independent life. Up until now, 17 such women have been assisted by Margadarshi's Home for Disabled Women and have started careers.