Bhagipur (Orissa): A visually-challenged man, is an inspiration today for all of his villagers and now not only makes his own living but also helps other physically challenged people both in spirit and kind.
Srinivas Jena became blind at the age of five years old. Many of his neighbours suggested that he should take to begging for his family's survival, however he was inspired by a radio programme took to cashew plantation. Today he earns handsomely for his entire family.
He began planting in his compound and backyard and has been able to cover five acres of land till date. Srinivas is now not only able to feed his family but also helps hundreds of other physically challenged people both in spirit and kind.
"When I lost my sight at the age of five, I was shattered and did not what to do. But then I gathered courage and took up cashew plantation to earn a livelihood. And now I am able to lead a decent life with whatever I earn from these plantations and maintain my family," says Jena while carrying water for his saplings which he treats as his children.
Today, Jena in addition to the cashew trees also has a number of fruit bearing plants in his farm. Kuni Jena, wife of Srinivas, volunteered to marry him when she saw his perseverance. Today she assists Srinivas in the wok and is all praise for her husband saying he is now able to lead a decent life which seemed to be an impossible dream a few years ago.
"Now we are happy as we are able to lead a normal life as he earns around 5000 rupees (about 111 dollars) per month. Earlier, it was very difficult to have a decent meal in a day as my in-laws (Jena's parents) are very poor. My husband because of his disability was even advised to take to begging. But he decided against it and did all the plantation on his own," says Kuni.
Today Srinivas is looked upon as a real life hero by all villagers for his "never say die" spirit.