As a student he met with an accident injuring his right leg. As fate would have it, another road mishap aggravated his disability, two years ago.
Inspired by personal experiences, the 40-year-old IAS officer Rigzin Samphel from Uttar Pradesh has now taken up a mission-to help the differently-abled people world over using the best of modern means of communication. His brainchild- mumkinhai.com-is, perhaps, the first-of-its-kind website dedicated for the cause.
“Be it a physically challenged persons or a normal like parents, NGOs working in the area--anyone wanting to know about the issue of the disabiled can come together on this cyberspace forum and share problems, stories, of struggles successes, experiences or information on how to seek medical, governmental, social or emotional help,” said Rigzin Samphel, UP Cadre IAS officer currently posted as special secretary to the chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The website-with the tagline ‘Mumkin Hai… a global meeting place for the physically challenged’ was launched by the chief minister in Lucknow on Wednesday. Currently in seven Indian languages, the idea is to develop it gradually in Chinese, Spanish, German, French and several other foreign languages.
As a student, Rigzin was hit by a bus on his right leg which he cannot bend by the knee ever since. Two years ago when he was district magistrate of Farukhabad, he again met an accident when his official car met an accident aggravating his disability. He was not born a disabled, but limps after the accident and cannot bend his right leg by the knee.
“If a disabled person or his parents wish to find out some NGO or people having similar disability, then through the search engine on the site, they can search globally and connect,” he said. As DM of Farukhabad and just before the accident, Rigzin had introduced the ‘mandatory helmet for refueling at petrol vends’ there.
The website also helps people to know about schemes, facilities, rules, regulations, concessions by governments in their respective countries. Besides there are also a series of inspirational stories of a number of known and unknown people, including the one about Jean-Dominique Bauby-well-known French journalist, author and editor of the globally famous French fashion magazine ELLE who wrote the book ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ despite suffering a paralysis attack.
Rigzin said he took inspiration from a Yahoo group that worked for people affected with cerebral palsy and autism.
Among other achievements, this UP cadre civil servant, is the recipient of the Prime Minister’s National Award for MNREGA, 2008-09, Rajeev Narayan Foundation Public Service Award, 2010-11 and the JP Morgan Social Impact Award, 2010 (Health and Sanitation section). The officer also featured in the March 2008 issue of international magazine, ‘The Economist’.
Rigzin has found supporters for the cause. Vinod Yadav, a Harvard graduate; Amita Yadav, the UP representative of the Clinton Foundation, Irfan Alam, a Harvard graduate who was once complimented by US President Barack Obama for his work, Arun Gaurav, an IIT-Kanpur and IIM-Lucknow passout and Samina Bano, an IIM-Bangalore alumnae are now part of Mumkin Hai… a global meeting place for the physically challenged