Lohar Anwar Raheem suffers from a form of bone deformity but refused his disability to define him. Specialising in brass artwork, he instead started a successful business that is now making heads turn in the national capital.
"I initially made brass bells for cows but slowly learnt to make other ornaments and artefacts. Now I run several shops," he told PTI. Raheem made the long journey from Kutch in Gujarat to the heart of Delhi -- India Gate -- to put up his stall at the Divya Kala Mela, which opened on Friday.
While his story is unique, it is one of hundreds of tales of overcoming the odds. Sunita Gupta from Dausa in Gujarat suffers from a disability in her lower body. While it was easy for her to give up, she refused to surrender. Instead, she toiled for decades and established a profitable jewellery business with her husband.
"I never gave up. In 2003, I started my business by making jewellery at home. I took it one step at a time and, after many difficult years, my business picked up. "Finally, I am running a profitable business," she said.
Over a hundred people suffering from different disabilities have put up stalls selling wares from clothing to jewellery, homemade pickles to shawls at the Divya Kala Mela. The mela is being organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and is scheduled to run till December 7.
Inaugurating the mela, Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar promised that similar fairs would be organised across the country and said it could become a viable source of income for persons with disabilities."I urge people to attend it to motivate them and make them more independent," he said.
(With PTI Inputs)