She has a bright face and her eyes exude optimism and possibilities. But even through the buoyancy of her spirits, helplessness finds its way in her expressions now and then.
Among ten siblings, Hima Thapa of Shantipur village in Gulmi district was born handicapped.
She can neither stand nor walk. She barely manages to sit down with some difficulty.
She does not have both legs, forcing her to crawl to move from one place to another.
But her long list of ordeals does not end there. Hima has a huge lump just below her back that may weigh around 4/5 kg. She has no control over her urination.
Unwanted and discriminated by her family, she had wished to die, but even death shunned her.
After spending confined life in her home for 22 years, she finally mustered courage to do something. “I don’t know what got into me, but despite my disability, I felt I needed to prove myself”, said 35-year-old Hima. She chose to struggle amidst her poor body structure.
A few years back, she enrolled in a training program on tailoring being organized in her village. “The four-month long training changed my life,” she said.
Hima today gets some stitching and she is satisfied with it. “It may look like a small work to others. However, it means a lot to me. It covers my expenses well,” she added.
These days she is engaged not only in stitching but also weaving hats, sweater, among others. She can also make candles, incense sticks and various other items. “Previously, I worked from my own village. But since the last three months I have been working from Tamghas.” She is currently residing in a home facilitated by Hope Disability Centre. “We can overcome the challenges that come with disability if we have strong willpower,” stresses Hima.
Proud of her own ability to work despite her condition, she said that anybody could live a life of dignity with a little courage. “Just as I am working, other people with disability, too, can work? People with disability should not undermine themselves by remaining idle.” At present, she is preparing to open a tailoring centre in partnership with her friend. Without attending school, the courageous woman has learnt to read Nepali language very well. “I taught myself. I read various newspapers, novels and stories written in Nepali,” she shared. Hima considered herself a burden earlier, but no more. “I was a trouble for my family in the past. Now, I am able to help them,” said Hima. According to her, people still look at disabled with discriminating eyes in her society.
“Even doctors used to treat us badly,” she said. “People like me need both love and opportunities,” she said. Now an inspiring personality, Thapa was born with dysfunctional legs. She could not receive timely treatment due to lack of attention from her family. Nobody in her village had believed she could be cured. At last, a donation fund was raised in Pokhara for her treatment. After many attempts at various health institutions, doctors finally decided to amputate her legs below knees.