Kumari’s selfless courage, guides her visually impaired family to success

Text & pix by Mohamad Buharddeen

In an age where newborn babies are dumped on roadsides and children ‘dump’ their parents in ‘Homes for Elders’, the efforts of an elderly woman to care for her visually handicapped daughter, son-in-law and their two children, in the Galewela area, has drawn praise from the villagers.

Indra Kumari, now in her 70s, found that her eldest daughter was visually handicapped, and after her education, was given in marriage to a man who had arrived in the village for employment. However, Somapala, her son-in-law, gradually lost his eyesight too adding further burden on the family.
“I never gave up hope and wanted to take care of the family,” Ms. Kumari said.

“But unfortunately, the two children born to them were also blind. But I was still determined to help the family and educate the children,” she said. Her 25-year labour of love has brought results. The eldest granddaughter, Subhashini has graduated, while the other, Nandana is an undergraduate.

“I made up my mind that I would never allow this family to be neglected due to their disabilities. My grand-daughter was educated at Tholambugala Maha Vidyalya, where she performed well, and later entered Galewela Maha Vidyalaya, before gaining entrance to the Peradeniya University”, she said.
“My grandson too is a second-year undergraduate. I worked as a labourer in the paddy fields to fend for the family. I took my grandchildren to school, and even took them to the university for admission,” she said.

“In addition to my own efforts, my third son Herath Banda, who was serving in the Army, was a source of strength to me, but he was killed while in service, making it more difficult to care for the family,” she said.
“My granddaughter is now looking for suitable employment. It was courage and determination that helped me to support the family,” Ms. Kumari said.

Indra Kumari: A 25- year labour of love
Daughter Chandra Kumari: Visually handicapped
Nandana: An undergraduate
Somapala: Also lost his eyesight

Subhashini: Looking for employment

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