Coimbatore based Suresh who is paralysed neck down and spends much of his time on a wheelchair doesn’t miss out any travel with his wife Jayashree now a days. All she does for their travel is dial Sarathi, an exclusive fleet of wheelchair accessible vehicles that drive the differently abled with dignity.
For long distance travel the family hires Sarathi Max, a Tata Winger van fitted with a foldable ramp that can wheel in and accommodate the wheelchair. The air conditioned van has a sofa cum bed and even a chemical toilet. Besides the wheelchair person, it can accommodate five others and a driver. It’s a perfect vehicle for long distance travel too.
Sarathi Mini, another Suzuki Eeco option with space for a wheelchair user and 3 others is his favourite for local travel. Sharing how these vehicles have changed travel for Suresh, his wife Jayashree says “These vans have made our travel very easy. They have a ramp and I don’t need to have many people to help him. It’s stress free. Suresh doesn’t hurt himself as there is no manual lifting, we just wheel him in”.
These vehicles are the brain child of J Swarnalatha, Managing Trustee of Swarga Foundation. Life changed to this former Managerial Executive with an MNC due to Multiple Sclerosis when she was just 29 and she turned wheelchair dependent due to mobility issues that followed. It was at that time when she had to go to a place to give a talk when her husband was away with their car, the taxi that arrived had no provision for wheelchair. The driver didn’t even let her keep the wheelchair in the boot. The cab was dirty and there was none at the destination to help her.