I am Ramu, and I run a musical troupe along with my wife and my three brothers (who are also blind, like me). We’ve never received any formal education, but we have all learned music. We formed this troupe last year, when our father, a daily wage labourer, passed away and we were not able to run the household with the disability pension we received.
The music troupe has helped us to utilize the skills we’d developed over many years. However, we had no idea where we’d perform, so we would perform on roadsides, and people would pay us whatever they thought fit. We got only a few hundred rupees – not enough for all of us.
When I told my friend about this problem, he made me call Namma Vaani, and I knew I had found the right platform for me and my family. Through Namma Vaani, I heard stories of other persons with disabilities who had found solutions to overcome their barriers and had become financially independent, and I received advice on how my brothers and I could live a life of dignity and independence.
When I decided to record a clip about my troupe, offering to perform at events, I wasn’t expecting much out of it. After all, why would people listen to me? Imagine my surprise when we booked six events within one month – all through Namma Vaani! We earned 30,000 rupees, finally enough money to arrange for a critical operation for my niece, who was rapidly losing her eyesight.
I still post frequently on Namma Vaani. We have five more events lined up, and I’m sure we’ll get many more in the future. I started this journey thinking that as long as I could earn money, I would be fine, but I found something much bigger – dignity. I now have a platform where I can speak and be heard, and I now actively seek out the opportunities I want, instead of waiting for opportunities to be given to me.
Find out more how Namma Vaani developed a mobile phone-based information sharing service about accessible opportunities in rural India by reading the factsheet.