Nomesh hails from Raipur district in Chhattisgarh, India. He has sickle cell disease (an inherited red blood cell disorder in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body). Nomesh had a rough childhood and his condition remained undiagnosed for years.
At 14, Nomesh left home and started selling vegetables to earn a living. Then a free training course for people with disabilities proved a lifeline – as well as completing training as an electrician, he met other people with disabilities and became involved with a disabled people’s organisation (DPO) which was supported by Sightsavers. In 2019, Nomesh was unanimously elected as president of the same DPO.
During the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and subsequent lockdown, Nomesh has emerged as a true leader and a guide for many. He has assisted the District Social Welfare Department in identifying families in need amidst the pandemic. With the support of other DPO members, Nomesh prepared a list of 68 families with disabilities and 92 families without disabilities, all of whom had been severely affected due to lockdown. He shared the list with the department and followed up until the identified families received the support that they needed.
Nomesh has also become a source of motivation for other DPO members to donate money to buy cloth for preparing masks for protection from Covid-19. He himself stitched around 350 masks and distributed them among policemen, health workers and daily wage workers. Nomesh also distributed food packets to around 56 migrant families. Adding to these, he volunteered and delivered medicines to 20 sickle cell patients, amidst the lockdown.
Nomesh is now actively involved in educating people on how to protect themselves from the virus and reduce chances of transmission. He says that his efforts to help people out makes him happy. “If nothing else, this is my small contribution for the people of my country,” says Nomesh.