Lions Clubs International Foundation provides financial assistance through grants to those individuals who are in dire need for help through Lions Clubs. These grants are effective instruments to conduct social activities stimulating a movement towards empathy along with individual and corporate responsiveness.
Sher Ali is one of the beneficiaries of the grants received from Lions Clubs International Foundation. Sher Ali, aged 45 years and a resident of a village named Mirdhan lost his eyesight when he was 22 years old. Sher Ali ran a small cloth business in the village which was usurped by Ali’s older brother. This sudden loss of sight and seizure of business brought upon several struggles and traumatic experiences that affected Sher Ali’s moral and confidence.
Due to these circumstances Ali became totally immobile and dependent on his spouse and given the situation it was impossible to make ends meet on the meager earnings of his wife.
When the Lions Clubs field workers first met Sher Ali, he was severely depressed, dejected and had lost all hope. After considerable motivation from the field workers, he agreed to receive training to develop skills, as he would only gain from this, after the unfortunate tragedies he had faced.
The training program began on 8 th January, 2014 and over a period of three months, he was trained in basic skills to improve his independence and self-confidence, associated with orientation, mobility and daily living was taught to him, to facilitate a revival within his lifestyle.
Although orientation and mobility training was new to Sher Ali, it inspired him lead an independent life, and believe that a transformation was possible. He was provided with a white cane for training and use, which enabled him to move about on his own, without depending on his wife or children.
Sher Ali was already running a successful cloth business prior to this, and did not require much training in daily survival skills. What was needed, however, was for him to gain self-confidence and the belief that he can sustain himself and his family.
Sher Ali was advised to run a petty shop for his sustenance and was very excited with the idea, for which training was imparted in such activities related to recognizing coins and currency notes, weighing and keeping his wares in an orderly and systematic manner and management of customers. After the training period, the field workers conducted a review to supervise and understand if Sher will be able to manage running the shop independently. He was provided an interest free loan of Rs. 10,000, which enabled him to start running a small shop of his own in a Kiosk-like situation, in front of his small living place.
Villagers started patronizing the shop and were amazed with Sher Ali’s ability to attend to customers, and handle the entire shop single-handedly.
Today, the shop fetches Sher Ali and the family an income of about Rs. 2000-2500 per month. He is able to support his four children and lives with dignity in his village with others appreciating and respecting his efforts and not looking down on him with sympathy.
In his message to fellow visually impaired people he says, “All of us face adversities, but we must confront and overcome them through relentless struggle, strong will and determination”.