He hopes big for the differently-abled

Thiruvananthapuram: Wheelchair-bound George K. Thomas, 31, with spine injured in a road accident eight years ago, is undergoing a seven-month residential programme at Kanthari International at Vellayani to become a social innovator/entrepreneur. His  dream is to provide electric wheelchairs to physically-challenged and to make the country wheelchair- friendly.
 
It was after surpassing five hurdles in the form of various interviews that Thomas was able to join the entrepreneurship programme at Kanthari International founded by a German woman, Sabriye Tenberken and her partner and a Dutch ‘social engineer’ and co-founder of Braille Without Borders, Paul Kronenberg. Thomas, who runs an NGO, ‘Prayukti,’ to help victims of road accidents, has so far been dependent on his parents for moving around in his wheelchair. 
 
“But since coming here at Kanthari, I have realised that I have become more self-reliant. Attending classes along with people belonging to the margins and that too among 16 different nationalities has improved my morale by leaps and bounds,”  said Thomas who has designed a ramp as part of his entrepreneurship programme. 
 
Thomas claims that his design will enable people like him to board the Venad bus of KSRTC without folding the wheel chair. He and his classmates have come up with a documentary highlighting their individual projects which will be released in the coming days.
 
Thomas had suffered severe damage to his spinal cord when his motor bike collided with an autorickshaw  close to his home in Nalanchira, Thiruvananthapuram. 
 
“There was just a slight cut on my lower lip. But little did I realise that I will be a paraplegic when the ‘good Samaritans’ picked me in all fours which damaged my spinal cord permanently,”  said Thomas, which shows how much ignorant the public are when lifting an accident victim. 

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