Mogullamma (India)


Mogullamma, finally self-mobile in her motorized wheelchair, has become a resource center, training disability activists in social mobilization and community organization.

Disabled, with no strength in her legs since childhood, Mogullamma has been a crusader for the rights of disabled people. She started with an NGO working with disabled people, eventually becoming a psychotherapist. Mogullamma is today involved mainly with the facilitation of life skills among disabled women, and providing them with legal literacy on public works department rights. The Andhra Pradesh government has adopted her concept of a “neighborhood center” for people with disabilities.

When she was just one year old, a local doctor misdiagnosed a minor health problem, and the treatment left Mogullamma-a child from the Munnuru Kaapu caste in Andhra Pradesh-with polio. Primarily because of her family’s determination, she got an education, and landed a job as a bookkeeper with a local organization. But it was after joining an NGO working with the disabled that she really came into her own. Mogullamma has rehabilitated people with different disabilities, and persuaded public works departments (PWDs) to set up groups to give disabled people vocational training. Some of her work also involves dealing with the particular problems facing different people-many children have benefited from Mogullamma’s initiatives to get them corrective surgeries. In August 2001, she underwent an operation on both her legs, after which she moved into a wheelchair, finally self-mobile. In 2003, she was given a motorized tricycle, which is what she now uses. Mogullamma is involved mainly with community mobilization, motivation, and facilitation of life skills among disabled women, and in providing them with legal literacy on their PWD rights. She has also taken on the social responsibility of building awareness about issues of health, education, and livelihoods. Mogullama has set up 11 PWD groups across six villages, all of which are now self-sustainable. She has also been able to leverage resources and entitlements from the state government for healthcare, education, livelihood, mobility access, and social inclusion. Most important, her concept of the “neighborhood center” has been adopted by the Andhra Pradesh government under the disability component of the Velegu Project, aided by the World Bank through supplemental executive retirement plans.

South Asia | India

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