Manipur: IMPHAL, September 13: 35 years old Thokchom Ronita and her husband Mansingh Bhagat both blind and discarded by their respective families are living on their own today with their two children.
After their respective families discarded them for marrying outside their respective communities, the blind couple started staying at a rented house at Sayang.
After facing several hardships, the two have now opened a small business meant especially for the handicaps producing soaps, doormats, detergents, etc.
Thokchom Ronita said she was born and brought up at Bishnupur, while Bhagat a non-local was living at Jiribam before the two met.
She was not born blind, but a failed cataract operation on one of her eyes made her blind of both eyes, she lamented.
Speaking to media persons today, the blind woman said after losing her sight at the age of just 12 years, she was completely downtrodden and wanted to end her life.
She said she was introduced to the Takyel Blind School by one of her relatives.
After meeting several other handicapped students at the school, she once again started to live her life.
And that was when she met her husband who was also a student.
The two fell in love and got married. However their families were against their marriage as they felt that the two would not be able to survive by themselves and would have to be dependent on their families for the rest of their lives.
They were also unable to accept the fact that both were from different communities.
However, both being blind it was hard for the two to find any jobs.
Soon after, their condition became so bad that they had nothing in their hands other than to start begging.
In order to survive, the two started small time businesses, but it was easy for others to dupe two blind persons doing small business on their own, she said.
First the two started selling charcoal and later started selling green chillies, however both failed as they were two easy for the others to dupe and deceive.
After their two failed attempts, they had nothing but to go to well to do individuals including the elected representatives and other officers for help.
She continued that many provided them with money but none helped them get on their feet.
However, Ronita and her son attended a soap making programme at Jiribam organized by WAD secretary Sobita.
She continued that she started her small time organization with help from Sobita.
Sobita extended her with a Rs 5000 loan with which she started her small time business.
Her organization ‘Economic rehabilitation agency for handicapped’ has 28 individuals working including 8 handicaps.
She continued that with help from Sobita, her organization today received several assistances from the government.