Radhambika S also received a national award from Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu
Stricken by polio virus at a tender age of two, Radhambika S did not stop reaching for the stars — she went on to create a company that makes components for India's space programme. On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, NDTV spoke with the owner of Sivavasu Electronics to listen to stories about her outstanding work.
She also received a national award from Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.
Behind every launch by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), signatures of precision workmanship of Ms Radhambika, 60, are visible. Her company makes electronic components that aid in navigation and guidance of India's rockets.
"ISRO has given ample opportunity to differently abled people like me, our talents and abilities could be utilised in space technology by ISRO and in India's progress, even for highly precision work we could excel all others," says Ms Radhambika.
Sivavasu Electronics, based in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, was set up in 1983; it supplies material worth Rs 2 crore to India's hi-tech sector and one-third of its workforce is also differently abled.
Ms Radhambika has been supplying equipment to the ISRO since the first launch of the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle or ASLV in 1987.
India's first mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1 in 2007, and India's first foray to Mars through Mangalyaan in 2013, and the recent Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle mission to hoist the HysIS ("sharp eye") satellite were powered using electronic components assembled in Ms Radhambika's facility.
V Satheesachandran Nair, head of Vocational Rehabilitation Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, said precision engineering is not difficult for persons with special abilities. "They take much care in discharging their duties, and that may be the reason why they are excelling others," Mr Nair said.
Ms Radhambika's firm has been making precision printed circuit boards for ISRO for three decades. She has studied only up to Class 10, and subsequently undertook training in precision engineering at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram.
"Precision soldering of wires is an art and initially, many failures at ISRO were attributed to poor quality of workmanship in making printed circuit boards," G Madhavan Nair, former chairman of ISRO, told NDTV.
"I appreciate such a marvellous group employment programme under the leadership of Radhambika," said Mr Nair, who gave a commendation certificate.