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Disability leadership and entrepreneurship represent two transformative forces that have the potential to impact not only the lives of individuals with disabilities but society as a whole. Historically, people with disabilities have faced exclusion from various aspects of society, including leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities. However, in recent years, there has been a growing movement to empower individuals with disabilities to assume leadership roles and pursue entrepreneurship, with organizations like the Deal Foundation playing a significant role in this shift. The Deal Foundation guides people with disabilities in developing their unique skills and perspectives, empowering them to take on leadership roles. It inspires individuals with disabilities to recognize the wealth of experience and knowledge they possess, contributing to the betterment of society as a whole. This organization facilitates the creation of businesses aligned with the interests and values of people with disabilities, leading to increased engagement in self-employment and improved livelihoods for many individuals with disabilities.

Shankrappa Somappa Lamani, from Tarikoppa village in Shirahatti taluk, has been physically handicapped since birth, with his left leg affected. His family consists of his father Shankarappa, mother Devamma, and four brothers. Growing up, he faced the challenges of poverty as his father worked as a laborer, and his mother was involved in a fruit trade. Unlike his brothers, Shankrappa had the additional struggle of losing functionality in his left leg due to polio. Despite the difficulties, he attended school initially. However, due to the financial constraints at home, Shankrappa faced the challenge of not having proper clothing for school. Consequently, he had to discontinue his education after completing the 9th standard and joined his mother in the fruit trade.

As time passed, Shankrappa’s family dynamics changed. His brothers got married and eventually moved to different houses, each taking charge of their own lives. Eventually, Shankrappa found himself solely responsible for taking care of his parents at home. With the blessings of God, Shankrappa got married, adding a new chapter to his family life. Facing the challenges of sustaining the family, his wife and mother offered advice. Recognizing the limitations of working as a wage earner, they suggested starting a small business—a grocery shop at home. They assured him of their support, emphasizing mutual benefits. Taking this advice to heart, Shankrappa obtained a loan, set up a small tin shop in front of his house, and commenced a grocery business. As the days went by, his business flourished. Observing the absence of a nearby xerox shop, Shankrappa, after repaying the loan, decided to invest in a xerox machine using the surplus funds. He expanded his services to include xerox and lamination, generating a daily profit of 500/- to 600/- along with the grocery store.

Running the grocery store in collaboration with his wife, Shankrappa expanded his business by venturing into the fish trade, sourcing fish from Hammagi and selling it in his town at a profit of a hundred rupees per kg. With the support of his parents and the cooperation of his wife, the financial situation of Shankrappa’s family improved. As his family grew with the addition of two children, Shankrappa harbored the ambition of scaling up his grocery store and incorporating a stationery business. Moreover, he aspired to empower individuals with disabilities to become self-employed.

Shankrappa and 10 other differently-abled individuals aimed to establish a self-help association, aspiring to gain recognition up to the district level. However, progress was slow until Rekha Maddi, the Livelihood Officer of Shirahatti taluk from the Deal Foundation, became involved. During a session explaining the working practices of the Deal Foundation in Dari Tarikoppa Panchayat, Shankrappa expressed his desire to help the differently-abled. Upon meeting with Rekha, Shankrappa discussed the idea of forming a group for the differently-abled. Rekha emphasized the importance of naming the group and having a bank account to avail training opportunities. Following her advice, the group agreed upon the name “Sewalal Vikalachetana Swasahay Sangha” and opened an account in the bank. Subsequently, they received training from the Deal Foundation. Acting on Rekha’s guidance, Shankrappa’s wife underwent training for posts at KVK in Hulakoti.

Subsequently, the Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Deal Foundation and through the efforts of Rekha, provided 10,000 rupees to the “Sewalal Vikalachetana Swasahay Sangha.” Encouraged by this support, Shankrappa secured a loan of 25,000/- from the association. With this financial assistance, he realized his aspirations of expanding his businesses, including a grocery store, stationery business, and fish trade, elevating his self-employment to a higher level. Shankrappa’s efforts have not only transformed his life but have also enabled him to assist numerous disabled individuals. A role model for many with disabilities, Shankrappa expressed his gratitude towards the Deal Foundation. He acknowledged the pivotal role the foundation played in shaping his life, which was once marked by poverty. The Deal Foundation, according to Shankrappa, helped him recognize his potential and proved that even disabled individuals in society can achieve remarkable feats when given the opportunity. Following Rekha’s guidance, Shankrappa initiated a self-help group and underwent various training programs, further enhancing his skills and capabilities.

Shankrappa expressed his initial uncertainty about creating a self-help group but credited Rekha for providing the necessary guidance. With Rekha’s assistance, he gained knowledge about the available facilities for the disabled. The Deal Foundation, according to Shankrappa, has empowered them with the confidence to seek government grants and facilities. In gratitude, he extended heartfelt thanks to Rekha and the Deal Foundation on behalf of his family and their association. Shankrappa emphasized that their gratitude is sincere and enduring, expressing the sentiment that they will be eternally thankful for the support they have received.

It can be concluded that the efforts made by the Deal Foundation form the foundation of life for individuals with disabilities. The disabled community expresses a collective wish for the Deal Foundation to gain recognition and prominence at a higher level.

For any specific questions about this blog or for assistance, please reach out to Additionally, you can visit to learn more about the organization’s work.

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