Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 11th 2013 Contents B1
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
Veera Bhajan is young, smart and
always thinks of ways to help oth-
ers. As a child she used her physical
disabilities to propel her to achieve
So it was no surprise when she
formed Footprints Foundation so
she could share her blessings with
young children born with disabilities
just like herself.
Bhajan, 24, is an attorney, inspi-
rational speaker and now president
of her own foundation.
She was born without arms yet
was able to pursue her studies from
primary school to university.
"It was always a dream of mine
to set up a foundation in terms of
recognising my blessings and desire
to use those blessings to be a blessing
to others," she said during an inter-
view at the Hyatt Regency on July
29.It was her lunch hour. She and
her long-time friend Sunita Mangray,
who is the public relations officer,
spoke with excitement about the
recently formed and registered non-
Mangray said it was an opportu-
nity for her to "give back" because
she was a recipient of help while
It's all about helping others
Bhajan chose her best buddies to
be part of her team. Eight of them
form the executive and are working
professionals with a common goal---
to give back.
Her cousins and friends are vol-
"I brought together people who
supported me throughout my life
and who are now willing to support
me in assisting others who may be
facing similar challenges.
"We decided that we will work
together to create positive changes
in the lives of differently-abled chil-
dren and underprivileged in Trinidad
Bhajan said education was key in
a child s life since that assisted her
in her own life.
"It was really my parents taking
that step to get me enrolled in a
school and teaching me to use my
feet and use what I had rather than
sit at home and complain about what
I didn t have.
"But not everyone is blessed with
those opportunities like I did, so I
started this foundation to assist those
children in any way that I can."
The organisation s main project
now is 12-year-old Thomas Seep-
ersad who was born with congenital
birth defects which include absence
of his upper extremities, left lower
extremity proximal femoral focal
deficiency, right lower extremity
ankle/foot equinovarum and con-
Seepersad has the frame of a
three-year-old and has never attend-
With the help of Dr Ian Mahase,
Seepersad will soon get a prosthetic
Leaving an impression
Bhajan s Felicity home is used as
her "headquarters." There are no
plans as yet to get a permanent
The executive has several projects
in the pipeline but wants to take
everything one step at a time. Bhajan
and her team have been using their
personal funds for small ventures.
One was donating a printer/copi-
er/scanner/fax machine and sta-
tionery to the Couva Children s
Home and Crisis Nursery. They also
rotate payment for Seepersad s phys-
iotherapy sessions and transportation
costs from his Debe home to
Chaguanas. They have not yet strate-
gised on fund-raisers except a small
project where each member is selling
a footprint bookmark for $20. They
So how did the name come about?
Footprints Foundation was
Mangray s idea. She said, "We need
to look at the things we are blessed
with and not the things that we are
"Veera is blessed with her feet so
we decided on that name. But we
also want to leave an impression
wherever we go."
Bhajan said because the organi-
sation was fresh it decided to help
only one child at a time.
She said before the organisation
was launched she received informa-
tion about Seepersad s condition.
"We do intend to implement more
projects not just at the home (Couva)
but perhaps two or three others
which we can really focus on."
Thomas is a 'big' project
Like Bhajan, Seepersad was born
armless. However, his feet do not
have equal length and so he cannot
walk. He has scoliosis and cannot
speak fluently. He wears diapers.
Seepersad spends his days indoors.
He s never been schooled. Bhajan
and her team visited him last month,
and she said he was excited to see
another person without arms.
Seepersad has two older brothers
and lives with his parents.
Bhajan, a legal counsel with the
Police Complaints Authority said
with the attention and guidance he
received he will be able to progress.
She said with the help of Mahase,
Seepersad would soon have a pros-
thetic leg and can walk. Funding
Seepersad is challenge, but Bhajan
and her group are committed to
ensuring he gets the necessary help.
"Thomas is a long term project,"
She said Seepersad s potential has
inspired and motivated her. The
group hosted a surprise birthday
party for Seepersad on August 1 at
Bhajan s home. One of his gifts was
• Facebook: Footprints Foundation
• Twitter: @FootprintsTT
• Instagram: footprints_foundation
...leaves an impression wherever she goes
Veera Bhajan, president of Footprints Foundation, left, and Sunita Mangray, public relations officer during
Tuesday's interview. PHOTO: RHONDA RAMBALLY
The Brighton of Trinidad
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