Preeti* from Chittaurgarh is 20 years old and has orthopaedic disability. At five years of age, Preeti met with an accident in which she lost one of her legs. For many years, her mother would carry her to school. Preeti’s grandfather made crutches out of wood after which she started to walk on her own. Everyone in her house have been very supportive of her with her disability. After graduating from school, Preeti joined the Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) supported by Sightsavers in Chittaurgarh. Thereafter, she received crutches from the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment with the help of other DPO members.
Preeti recently got married however, she is living with her parents till she finishes college. Her husband and his family are supportive of her studies. She lives in a village near Chittaurgarh, with her parents, two brothers and grandparents. Her father is a taxi driver whose work has completely stopped due to the lockdown. Her grandfather has a pass to sell earthen pots to sustain the family.
On asking about the impact of the pandemic on her life, she said – “My happiness is curbed entirely. I hate staying indoors all the time. I miss meeting my friends and miss meeting my husband.” She is scared to go out of the house to buy anything because intimidated by the police and avoids coming across them at all costs. She feels shy of buying sanitary napkins because the police often interrogate about the things people buy. “If it’s medicine or rice or vegetables, you can still tell the police, but how can you show them sanitary napkins? It’s embarrassing for me”. She is currently not engaged in the DPO advocacy work as her studies keep her busy. She is putting more efforts in her studies as the lockdown has made her realise the importance of college and a degree. The prolonged lockdown period has started to make her feel sad and anxious these days. Preeti is finding it difficult to remain calm as the pandemic keeps her worried about her family’s health and well-being.
* Name changed on request