From Fighting Disability to Enabling Education: Samarth SoochnaPreneur’s Story

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Motivated by the success of the SoochnaPreneur program DEF launched the Samarth SoochnaPreneur program that aims to empower PwDs (Persons with Disabilities) to become SoochnaPreneurs. Oftentimes PwDs are discriminated against, especially in rural parts of the country where DEF is most active. This program aims to fight the stigma that comes with a disability that proves to be a bigger handicap than any physical handicap. By empowering PwDs we are able to empower the entire community because a person who needs most help and support understands and empathises with the problems and challenges of all. Today there are about 500 SSPs across the country.

Bandana Kumari is 30-year-old Samarth SoochnaPreneur from Dhamaura village, Bihar. A widow and a young differently abled mother of two, lives with her parents and brother while looking after herself and her children by providing services like printing, photocopying, laminating and other government schemes at her home with the help of the SoochnaPreneur program. Valuing education and considering the public education provided in government schools to be of poor quality,she started looking for better opportunities so that she could provide better education to her children and was introduced to this program.

From being a school teacher to a SoochnaPreneur, her income has doubled from 3,000 rupees to 6,000 rupees per month. Although her village struggles with stable supply of electricity and connectivity issues, she has set up a centre at her home with the help of a smartphone and printer that were provided to her. Through her savings, she bought a colour printer and a lamination machine through which she is growing her business. With the new identity that she has formed in her village, she wishes to take it further and provide better education to children of her village who cannot afford it.

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