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My Story: Devakka

Hello Devakka, could we have a chat with you about you and your experiences?

Sure, glad to share with you. I was born in Mevundi village in Mundargi Taluk, Gadag District and have lived here for most of my life.

I am one of 3 brothers and sisters. I live with my mother. Growing up I faced a number of challenges but I was always keen to do something to be independent.

How did you get interested in tailoring?

My interest in this grew from tailoring, when I got to know about DEAL Foundation and the work they do specially regarding tailoring. With very little opportunities at that time, and pressures on the home front, I just had to be content with whatever I could do. 

You have now been coming to the DEAL Foundation training over the last year, how are you finding it?

It is great to have something like this at the doorstep. For me this is particularly very useful. I have been able to meet new people, make friends with likeminded people who share the same interest as me. We not only get the opportunity to learn new things, but also have a good life. I have found my time over here to be very enjoyable and productive. COVID has of course disrupted this routine. I cannot wait to get back with the group.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I have grown in confidence I know what I do is good and appreciated by others. You have helped me to promote my produce through the women’s cottage industries exhibition at Gadag and at your events. Visitors who have come to DEAL Foundation have also appreciated my work and given me orders. I currently am very good at interior home decorations, bags, and women’s ware. Of Course with COVID, I and others in the group felt honoured to be asked by the gram panchayat to produce face masks. I would like to learn apparel design and diversify with my friends at the DEAL Foundation tailoring unit. I dream of setting a social enterprise which will not only help us generate sustainable livelihoods but also keep us together. We will need your support with this.

Sure, you know that we will work with you to explore all options. Our aim is to see you and all others succeed.

Thank you that is very reassuring.

Finally what would you like to say to someone with a disability who feels disadvantaged?

Well that depends. We are all different. From my experience I can say that focusing on what I can do has helped me give new meaning and find a purpose. Somewhere in all of this I have found an opportunity to express myself. I’m happy that despite my disability, I will not need to depend on anyone. This gives me hope and while I may have dreams, I know that I need to go through and face today’s reality doing this one day at a time. I hope to fulfil my dream and lead a contented and happy life. Just one final thing, I would also like to continue my association with DEAL Foundation and if there was an opportunity, I would be glad to help out as a resource person training other women with disabilities.