26 year-old Raju and his siblings were born partially sighted, and his father became disabled about 10 years ago in an accident at work. The young Raju was spurred into joining the disability movement. He engages people with his easy-going manner, gaining trust – and a reputation for his work for disabled people’s rights. Raju is the sole provider, supporting his disabled siblings and father, and his mother who cares for them all.

Raju’s philosophy is ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ He didn’t let disability or financial circumstances hamper his education, completing secondary school with the help of understanding teachers, and moving on through his own efforts to a distance-learning degree. Knowing how hard it is for blind, needy and disabled students, he began campaigning, and has helped over 100 young people to obtain higher education scholarships.

Raju was thrilled to become a Social Mobilizer for the Women-Led Disability-Inclusive Livelihood project (WDIL), formalizing his own initiatives to help disabled people, and using his links with decision-makers as a member of Dhading district Disabled Coordination Committee. Raju supported four self-help groups (SHGs) in Galchhi with a total membership of 66 members, coordinating meetings, helping set up and supporting livelihood activities.

Raju’s efforts resulted in 10 extra families of disabled people getting direct support from the municipality, showing the way for WDIL activities to be sustained and mainstreamed in future. And during the COVID19 lockdown, 27 beneficiary families were able to get food relief thanks to Raju’s local knowledge and commitment to supporting local people.