Blind World Magazine

Visually impaired villager is a local hero.

December 27, 2005., India.

Srinivas Jena, a visually challenged man from a remote village in Orissa has set an example for others like him.

Thirty-year-old Jena, having lost his sight at the young age of five to a freak accident, was advised by his neighbours and poor parents in Bhagipur village to beg.

Jena, considered a burden by his family, was one-day inspired by a radio programme to take to cashew plantation and now is able to support his family well.

Srinivas, who began planting in his compound and backyard, has till now covered five acres of land.

A kind hearted Srinivas now is not only able to feed his family but also helps hundreds of other physically challenged people both in spirit and kind.

"When I lost my sight at the age of five, I was shattered and did not what to do. But then I gathered courage and took up cashew plantation to earn a livelihood. And now I am able to lead a decent life with whatever I earn from these plantations and maintain my family," said Jena as he carried water for his saplings which he now loves as his own children.

Today, Jena in addition to the cashew trees also has a number of fruit bearing plants in his farm.

Kuni Jena, his wife who is his biggest supporter and only assistant, was all praise for her husband saying they are now able to lead a decent life which seemed to be a distant dream a few years ago.

"Now we are happy as we are able to lead a normal life as he earns around 5000 rupees (111 dollars) per month. Earlier it was very difficult to think of eating even a day's meal as my in-laws are very poor and my husband because of his disability was advised to take on begging. But he decided against it and did all the plantation on his own," said Kuni, who volunteered to marry Srinivas seeing his perseverance to achieve something in life.

Now, Srinivas is a local hero in the impoverished village where majority of residents have either taken to begging or working as domestic helps.(ANI)

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