Aji Kumar, who hails from Kattakada in Trivandrum, became a paraplegic 17 years ago at the age of 22 after a fall from a tree that resulted in a spinal injury. He was totally disabled initially, but his situation improved to being a paraplegic following treatment and yoga. He now travels on a three wheeler (for persons with disabilities).
Aji is a self-made and a never-say-die person. As a boy, he had learnt the skill of making umbrellas and footwear from his father. Since then he also learned to make disinfectants, soaps, school bags/back packs, arte crafts, paper bags, paper pens, paintings etc., and these have become his sources of income, his mainstay being umbrellas. He also imparts training to others including paraplegics like him in these activities and is called by educational and other institutions to teach these arts. Aji was under the care of Pallium India for a while who also helped rehabilitate him. He has been featured in print and social media several times.
Sathi Fund, a ‘not for profit’ organization based in Denver, Colorado, USA, has been engaged in empowering grassroots entrepreneurs across the world to pursue sustainable, locally driven solutions to the challenges facing their communities by providing them seed grants. These grants target small-scale entrepreneurial activities with the promise to yield long-term returns in the local community. In a tie up with Pallium India, Aji Kumar has been chosen as a beneficiary of the fund with the responsibility of training and empowering others (differently-abled) like him in these activities to help them generate a self sustaining income and realize their goal of living with dignity and contributing to the community. He also helps them to market their products. His activity is overseen by Pallium India.
Aji Kumar has made a good start by identifying and imparting training (on 17th April 2019) in making paper pens as part of their vocational rehabilitation to 13 differently-abled inmates of Cheshire home, Trivandrum.
Aji Kumar’s story is highly inspirational and is a beacon of hope to many others like him to help them live a life of dignity and play their role in society.