Mission Mukti helps physically challenged persons get a fresh start

Through her NGO Mukti, Meena Dadha, 70, has helped three lakh people across the world who lost their mobility walk again using prosthetic limbs. She is now determined to provide jobs for the poor and undereducated through a skill centre.
Mission Mukti helps physically challenged persons get a fresh start
A woman being helped with a prosthetic limb; (right) Technicians from the NGO making artificial limbs

Chennai

It was in 1986 when Meena Dadha thought about giving back to the society. While she was toying with ideas, she learnt about the high demand and waitlists among the disabled and orthopedically challenged persons to be equipped with artificial limbs in our country. “By 1986, my children had grown up and I was feeling very lonely. I was looking for something to do and keep myself occupied. That is when I learnt about the need for artificial limbs among people and decided to send technicians to Jaipur (where the prosthetic Jaipur foot is made) to learn the technique of making the limb. That is how I started Mukti,” recollects 70-year-old Meena in a conversation with DT Next.

Even though the response was lukewarm when she started the NGO, she recalls a published interview of hers fetching her 800 applications for artificial limbs. “Over the years since Mukti was founded, we have managed to help over three lakh people around the world, including in India, Mexico and Guatemala, walk again using prosthetic limbs. I have been fortunate that funds kept coming in through various donations all these years, due to which we have been able to provide the services with a mere Rs 20 registration fee,” asserts Meena, whose organisation has been making prosthetic limbs in the suburb of Meenambakkam in the city for many years now.

The sassy septuagenarian recounts that even three bouts with cancer could not stop her in her mission to continue working for the physically challenged. “I did not let even cancer stop me as I have always wanted to help. I realised that when everyone was facing so many struggles, I could also overcome mine to remain determined. It is all in the mental attitude,” she reiterates.

Meena is now keen to provide people with employment opportunities. The NGO’s skill centre provides free training to people in electrical and electronic repairs, with a guaranteed job opportunity at the end of successful training.

“Through our skill centre, we want to ensure we also contribute to capacity building. Any person can take part in this skilling exercise —even if they have studied only up to Class 6,” she adds.

As a result of the occurrence of accidents and the wear and tear of prosthetic limbs, there is always a demand for artificial limbs, Meena notes. “So far, we have trained 72 technicians in the prosthetic limb-making process. We, however, have the need for more volunteers to reach out to more people in need of the limbs,” she admits.

“It gives me immense satisfaction to see someone walk again, and I’m even happier when I see him or her find a job. I think it is human duty to help each other out and I feel fortunate for the opportunity I have had,” Meena remarks. 

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