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ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE & SOCIAL INTEGRATION


Lions Clubs, Kaushambi

True to its credo of 'helping where help is needed, the Lions of Kaushambi district in Uttar Pradesh, India, came to the rescue of Istiaq Ahmed. Blind by birth and the eldest of 8 children, Istiaq lived with his parents and siblings in a tiny mud hut. The family worked as farm laborers with even the youngest pulling his own weight.

Demotivated and defeated,Istiaq had given up on life when a member of the club came upon him. Sensing his plight, club members decided to help. With continuous motivation, counseling, training, hard work and dedication from the project staff in Kaushambi, Istiaq Ahmed has regained his life.

The Lions of Kaushambi assisted Istiaq by arranging bus and train concession certificates so he could travel independently. Then the field workers were able to arrange a small monthly disability pension of Rs. 300/- under a government of India scheme. This not only gave him regular income, it also boosted his morale and nurtured a drive to do something more for himself and his family. Helped by field workers and his family, Istiaq started learning and understanding skills required to operate his own business.

In July, 2013 the Lions Clubs members of Kaushambi gave Istiaq a livelihood by giving him an interest free loan of Rs. 10,000/- to run his own shop. Today, Istiaq Ahmed earns upto Rs. 3000/- per month through his shop. He has earned the respect of his family and friends and is looked upon as an example in his neighborhood. He is well integrated into society, self-reliant and an earning member of the family. His message to others like him is, "We must prove ourselves capable of respect from others through our hard work."

Similarly, members of Lions Clubs Kaushambi also identified and lifted Uday Bhan Saroj, a resident of Manjhanpur block, Kaushambi district, from despair. Though Uday was not blind from birth, he lost his sight to Trachoma at the age of 15. A class 4 drop out, Uday was a member of a family of 6 children who, along with his parents and older siblings were doing manual labor. Blind and dependent with no skills, Uday too was living a life of misery and confusion when the Lions Clubs members met him. It took a lot of hard work to convince Uday that there was hope and that all was not lost. After intense counselling, motivation and training Uday, like Istiaq, was helped to start a small shop with an interest free loan of Rs. 12,000/-.

With this help, Uday Bhan is now running his own shop with admirable skill. He is able to earn upto Rs. 2500/- per month in addition to the small disability pension of Rs. 300/- per month from a government of India scheme. As a result of the continuing efforts of the project staff, today Uday Bhan has become a contributing member of his family who has developed self-esteem and enjoys and social recognition for his hard work and capability among his village folk.

In this manner, the Lions Club of Kaushambi has impacted the lives of many individuals.

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