Specially-abled in Ladakh turn waste into wealth

Cricketer Sachin Tentulkar interacting with physically challenged Mohd Iqbal, who started the People's Action Group for rights of people in Leh

Leh, Mar 29 (ANI): A group of disabled people in Ladakh displayed their creative talents by turning waste material into useful products of daily use. More then 200 disabled people are involved in turning waste into craft, thanks to the initiative of People’s Action Group for Inclusion and Rights (PAGIR), a voluntary organisation. “We were given basic training last year in the art of making pillow covers, sweet boxes, file covers and pen stands from waste papers and old clothes,” said Tsering Gurmet, a disabled artisan. These disabled artisans use waste material to make products like wall-hangings, pen stands, lamp shades, paper bags and also use waste cloth to make pillow covers, table cloth and bags. “People think that disabled people cannot do anything. Even the society has similar views. So in order to change such views and for the benefit of disabled people, we have initiated this work. We also wish to work for entire Ladakh region by selling these products in the market,” said Mohammed Iqbal, President PAGIR. PAGIR was founded in 2006 to highlight the issues and rights of the disabled persons in Ladakh region. As per the 2001 census, over 21 million people in India are suffering from one or the other kind of disability. This is equivalent to 2.1 per cent of the population. Among the total disabled in the country, 12.6 million are males and 9.3 million are females. Among the five types of disabilities on which data has been collected, visual disability at 48.5 per cent emerges in the top category. Others in this category are movement of limbs (27.9 per cent), mental (10.3 per cent), speech (7.5 per cent), and hearing (5.8 per cent). Across the country, the highest number of disabled has been reported from Uttar Pradesh (3.6 million). The other states with higher concentration of disabled persons are Bihar (1.9 million), West Bengal (1.8million), Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra (1.6 million each). By Jigmet Vangchuk (ANI)

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