Mogullamma – India

Linked with GlobalGiving, and with Action on Disablility and Development ADD.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Disabled, with no strength in her legs since childhood, Mogullamma has been a crusader for the rights of disabled people. She started with an NGO working with disabled people, eventually becoming a psychotherapist. Mogullamma is today involved mainly with the facilitation of life skills among disabled women, and providing them with legal literacy on public works department rights. The Andhra Pradesh

government has adopted her concept of a “neighborhood center” for people with disabilities.Mogullamma, 23 years old, comes from a poor Backward Caste family of the Munnuru Kaapu community in Andhra Pradesh. She was just one year old when, in treating a small problem, local quacks injected her with a chemical that resulted in the loss of sensation in both her legs. Her parents, both of whom are daily-wage farmers with an annual income of less than Rs 10,000, took her to a doctor in a nearby town, where they were informed that she would never be able to feel any sensation in her legs again, leave alone walk – she had been stricken with polio. Mogullamma’s family is from one of the worst drought-affected parts of India, a place where hunger suicides are common as day, and abject poverty is the order. The status of women is abominable – economic backwardness has, over the years, set in place some cult practices, many of which target women as the basic cause of the lack of soil fertility. It inevitably leads to atrocities against women  … Mogullamma, finally self-mobile in her motorized wheelchair, has become a resource center, training disability activists in social mobilization and community organization … (1000peacewomen 1/2).

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Sorry, not any photo found for Mogullamma in big India

1000peacewomen 2/2: … Despite their initial depression over her diagnosis, Mogullamma’s parents chose not to let her handicap affect her or their family. Her education would continue. Right through her childhood, Mogullamma’s father carried her to school and back. After she grew up, Mogullamma hobbled to and from school on all fours.

Although her parents learned to live with Mogullamma’s disability, it wasn’t as easy for her: her disability, as it is in many social setups in India, was a source of amusement and ridicule. By the time she finished her graduation, she was moving around in a tricycle.

Mogullamma began working, even as she was an undergraduate, with a society her mother belonged to. There was a vacancy for the post of a bookkeeper, and an educated youngster was formally called for: Mogullamma had already been working as a bookkeeper at the organization, albeit unofficially, since she was in the IX standard. She applied, and landed the job easily enough, continuing as a bookkeeper for three years.

But it was after joining Commitments – an NGO working with the disabled – that she finished her graduation in 2000 and came into her own. Commitments had advertised for activists who were themselves disabled and were interested in working for other disabled people. A public-trust organization, Commitments works for the overall development of people with all categories of disability–physiological, visual, oral, aural, mental, and psychological–through community-based rehabilitation programs.

Mogullamma has rehabilitated people with different disabilities, as well as persuaded PWDs to set up groups to give disabled people training in different vocations. Some of her work also involves dealing with the particular problems of different people; many children have benefited from her initiatives to get them corrective surgeries, and she often acted as physiotherapist to many of them.

In August 2001, both her legs were operated on. For six months following, Mogullamma worked out of her office. She eventually moved into a wheelchair, although she prefers crutches when traveling long distances. In 2003, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in New Delhi gave her a motorized tricycle, which is what she has since used for her fieldwork.

Mogullamma is today involved mainly with community mobilization, motivation, and facilitation of life skills, especially among disabled women. She also provides legal literacy on PWD rights, and has taken on the social responsibility of building awareness on issues of health, education, and livelihoods.

Mogullamma has also been instrumental in setting up in Gundumal village in the Kosgi Mandal a “neighborhood center”, which looks mainly after pregnant women and their health.

Gundumal has a high percentage of children born with disabilities. The scope of the center’s work, however, goes well beyond caring for pregnant women: it is also a social centre for people with disabilities.

Mogullamma has set up 11 PWD groups spread across six villages, and they are all entirely self-sustaining. She has also leveraged resources and entitlements from the state government, in terms of healthcare, education, livelihood, mobility access, and social inclusion. And, most importantly, her neighborhood center concept has been adopted by the Andhra Pradesh government under the disability component of the VELEGU Project, aided by the World Bank through SERP.

Mogullamma today is a resource center herself, training disability activists in social mobilization and community organization, as part of Commitments as well as other organizations she gives her time to. (on 1000peacewomen).

The name Mogullamma is pratically not appearing in any Google-search, and if, only naming the 1000peacewomen project.

A few links for disabled people in India:

This minority is invisible: Javed Abidi on the status of the disabled in India, June 2002: According to conservative estimates, approximately 6% of India’s population is disabled. And if we go by what the U.N. officials or various other experts say, the figure could very well be in double digits. After all, Australia does admit officially that 18% of their population is affected by one form of disability or the other. United Kingdom’s disabled population is estimated at 14.2%, whereas in the United States, it is 9% … (full text);

Reaching the Disabled Through Mobile Clinics, not dated;

National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People;

India moves towards equal rights for disabled people, 1995.

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