Words powered by a black world - NGO to bring out book written, edited, printed by handicapped youths

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By RIPUNJOY DAS in Dibrugarh
  • Published 11.03.05

Dibrugarh, March 11: For a group of 30 physically and mentally challenged youths, Prerona is not merely a printing press. For them, it is an inspiration from within which will soon fructify into a unique achievement.

The initiative adopted by these youths, who are part of a non-governmental organisation, will soon have a book written, edited and even printed by them.

Pragati, the NGO, is a conglomeration of six self-help groups, which have taken the initiative to publish a book that will include anything written or drawn by the handicapped.

The NGO has even set up a small printing press in the name of Prerona Offset Printers and intends to print the book from its own press.

?We thought of this since we found that some of these youths are immensely talented and we received several poems, short stories, drawings and sketches. They are people who have a right to express their feelings like each and every one of us,? said Jyotsna Sonowal, general secretary of the NGO.

It should be mentioned that all the 30 members of the six self-help groups, which constitute the NGO are physically challenged.

?We have received Rs 6 lakh from the bank of which half is a subsidy while the rest is loan. We started the press two months back with a single computer and an offset machine. We have also employed seven of our own members as employees of the press and paying them decent salaries. They are quite performing their duties quite efficiently, be it that of a machine man or the night guard. This is a pointer to the fact that they, too, can prove their worth if given a chance,? said Sonowal, who has been working with the handicapped for almost a decade now.

She referred to Kanti Das, a railway employee, who, despite being physically challenged, writes beautiful short stories.

?Actually, to be honest, his beautiful composition inspired me to think of this new endeavour of publishing a book by the handicapped themselves,? she added.

?This is our way of life, we have to live with it. But we want to make our life meaningful and this is why I am engaged in this project. I hope we will be able to bring out the book very soon,? said another member of the group, who is visually challenged.