Labelled as God’s curse, Hansa grew to prove the whole village wrong.
Hansa was born into a family of rural-daily wage labourer in the remote, village of Dhanki in Gujarat. Profoundly deaf, low vision and with learning disabilities, Hansa was not what the village was used to seeing in their children and was soon branded as the God’s curse. The family was shunned. There mere presence in the fields or homes was seen as ill luck.
Fortunately, things began to change when Deepakbhai, the special educator trained by Sense India intervened. He gently helped Hansa to understand her environment and soon a receptive Hansa began responding and displaying remarkable progress. Very soon she could count with beads and do simple arithmetic; she took over the household chores and became an asset to her mother. She began communicating in sign language and a new medium of conversation and expression opened up. Deepak convinced the local school to admit Hansa and in a short time Hansa was spelling her name in English among other things. The unkempt, reclusive Hansa transformed in to a well groomed spunky adolescent girl who could wield a cricket bat with flair.
It took a while for the reality to seep in to the mindset of the villagers, but slowly and firmly the community was swept by the winds of change. Farmers began employing Hansa’s parents again in the fields and in fact got impressed by Hansa‘s abilities as well. She is now a coveted farm hand. The family is now invited to social and community functions. Hansa herself has found a band of friends. In fact she has begun to learn and pick up cues regarding normal social behaviour and norms from girls and friends of her own age group.
Today, Hansa is registered under government of India’s ‘Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’ (NREGA) which aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas. Recently, Hansa’s family also built their own home under the government of India’s social welfare programme ‘Indira Awaas Yojana’.
The pain and hurt in Purshottam bhai’s eyes are a thing of the past. Heartfelt pride and a new set of aspirations for the future have taken their place. Hansa of course is poised to fly.