|Showkath is proud that he is able to support his family even though he is now crippled.|
Disabled but determined, Showkath who met with an accident in 2014 that left him crippled, has been supporting his family by selling umbrellas online for the past three years. With the help of a teacher, he learnt how to make umbrellas and along with nearly 50 other physically disabled people in Kerala, have been selling their umbrellas on a Facebook page called "Umbrella by Differently Abled – Kerala" that was set up by the same school teacher.
"I always wanted lead a life with my own hard earned money. After the accident, my spinal cord got injured and I was bound to wheel chair. A school teacher from Palakkad showed me how to make umbrellas and helped me to connect with others who make a living similarly. He is the one who created the Facebook page so that we can market our products effectively," Showkath told The News Minute.
Showkath makes around six umbrellas and 100 pens, made out of paper, daily. "I am happy that I don't have to depend on anyone else to make a living," he said.
The schoolteacher said that he does not want any publicity, but wants to help disabled people to earn a living. "Though many of them used to make umbrellas for a living earlier, their products did not have good market. Even their neighbours did not know they were doing something like this. That was when I decided to connect people like this through using potential of social media," he said. "I am happy that what I initiated has been able to help these people lead their lives independently."
Among the challenges they face is the seasonal demand for the umbrellas. Another seller explained, "We get most of the bulk orders during monsoon season. This is a problem we continue face, because on other months we have to depend on something else to make money."
She added that some even asks for discounts, which they can't afford to give. "Even some charity organisations which purchase items from us have asked for discount. Don't they understand this is the only way through which we are making a living?"
Photo Source: The News Minute