कलामूल खबर

Disability can’t deter Dipendra from achieving success

Radha Luitel,Fidim, July 10: Dipendra Chemjong of Phaktep, Phalgunanda Rural Municipality-5, Panchthar is disabled from the waist down. He can’t stand or walk normally and his only support is a wheelchair. With the help of his wheelchair, he reaches the stove, the kitchen, and the fireplace.

Sitting in a wheelchair with the help of bamboo and household tools, making ornaments, musical instruments, and household items is his daily routine. Chemjong’s time is fully occupied with making saree pins, tweezers, earrings, and other women’s jewelry using bamboo splinters.

Along with cosmetic items, Dipendra has been making harps, small drums, chirbaja, ektaare, Yalambar baja, sarangi, flutes, scales, and other religious and traditional items for the last 16 years. He said, “It is difficult to make items based on the order.” When asked where are they sold? He answered, “I get orders from around the neighborhood, but also from other countries.”

The tongba pot made from bamboo is what Chemjong sells the most. He said, “Artistically patterned pipes sell for Rs. 5,000 per piece. Tongba pots are mainly taken to Hong Kong and Singapore.”

Saree pins, tweezers, and amulets made by him are bought and used by women from the village. Amulets made from bamboo splinters are sold for Rs. 100 apiece and Saree pins and tweezers are sold for Rs. 250 per piece.

He said that he sells items priced from Rs. 100 to Rs. 7,000.

Small drums, harps, sarangi, and ektaare made by Chemjong are the second most favoured by buyers. He not only makes the instruments but also is equally skilled at playing them.

He can also play the flute, guitar, and other musical instruments.

Chemjong mentioned that although he has a physical disability, he has been successful because he never felt weak.

He needs help from others to cut and collect bamboo. His wife Dilmaya has been there for him in moments of hardship and joy.

Dilmaya, who worked in the Falgunanda Rural Municipality Ward-5, said that her husband earned more than double her salary.

She added, “He makes more money than I do from my job. He makes items from bamboo from morning till nightfall and still helps me out in the kitchen to make breakfast from his wheelchair if needed.”

The Chemjong couple said that they save around Rs. 35,000 per month from selling bamboo items.

A tragic past

Chemjong, who spends most parts of his day in the wheelchair, has a tragic past.

He said, “In 2003 after being troubled by the then Maoist rebels, I decided to move to Bahrain dreaming of making money and saving my life.”

He added, “I was sitting in the front seat of a bus, a woman going through labour pain got on the bus in Charali, Jhapa. I gave my seat to her and tried to climb on the hood of the bus but got thrown off onto the road instead.”

“Thousands were spent on my treatment; my life was saved but nothing below the waist moved. After returning from the hospital, I felt it was pointless to live.”

He added, “Although my legs are not working, my eyes and hands are still good, so I began making bamboo items as an occupation.”

According to the doctor, Chemjong had a spinal cord injury. Despite all his issues, he is known as a successful entrepreneur in the district.

The skilled man did not receive training from anywhere. “I did not have enough reach to get training or grants.”

He added, “Through the disability prevention and rehabilitation programme conducted in partnership with the local level, I have received some money and a wheelchair as a seed donation.”

Chemjong has sent three of his children to campuses with the money earned from selling his bamboo items.

He said that the bass shines with a ‘golden colour’ after processing it. According to the ward chair Bishnu Prasad Chemjong, most of the materials manufactured by Dipendra Chemjong are durable and attractive.

The Rising Nepal

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