Witness how a unique sports day brought a positive change in the lives of differently-abled children and their families. Here is all you need to know about the power of sports.
“Sir, nahi hoga,” said a kid on a wheelchair over and over again, with a frustrated expression on his face, as his wheelchair kept getting jammed mid-race. When volunteers around the track heard him, they started cheering for him, and when he heard people chanting his name, he got an unusual sense of confidence and pushed his chair across the finish line with a broad smile on his face.
This was no ordinary event. It was a Special Olympics, organised for kids with disability, by the Secure Giving organization and Concern India foundation.
“An event like this was a first for many of us, and it was quite amazing to witness. Have you ever seen girls with visual impairment run a race? All they had to go by was the sound of a clanging bell and the cheers of everyone around them, and each and every one crossed the finish line without mishap and within the lines of their own track.”
– Neha Mitra, Communications Head, Concern India Foundation.
Secure Giving organization has been organizing several inter-NGO sports meets for underprivileged children. When the events received an overwhelming response from people over a period of time, the organization planned to turn it into a regular feature.
“It seemed like the ideal combination of the two events, where children with different disabilities could participate on the same platform,” says Mitra. The team contacted Special Olympics Bharat to give a better shape to the team’s idea, since they had reliable experience in this field.
The children who participated in this amazing event have physical, visual, auditory and cognitive disabilities. They indulged actively in activities such as flat races for the children, as well as races for those on wheelchairs and crutches. “Depending on their different abilities, they ran 25, 50, or 100 meter distances. Over time, we hope to include a wider variety of events,” says Mitra.
The Sports Day has left a tangible and quite a visible impact on the lives of the participants. While most of them leave with more confidence and a feeling of accomplishment, many schools, parents and families have also shown interest in organising similar events at their localities at regular intervals.
“A number of them even asked us to organize similar events in sports like swimming, trekking, etc.,” says Mitra.
Of course, like many other NGOs and initiatives, this event too faced a few hurdles when it came to bringing people on board and gaining attention in its favour. “Our primary challenge, like many other NGOs, was raising funds to support the event. Once we set our sights on making this event a reality, a number of corporates and individuals came forward to support us,” says Mitra.
Finalizing the date, keeping the enthusiasm alive and bringing people together, was yet another challenge which the team managed to overcome with astounding help from great active participation on the part of the kids and their will power.
The event is all set to expand in the next few months. Concern India Foundation has been providing financial and non-financial aid to various grassroots-level organizations, working in the areas of education, health, and community development, by bridging the gap between corporate houses and philanthropists, and these organizations.
Currently, the Foundation supports 270 programmes across the country, reaching out to over 1,60,000 people from marginalized sections of the society.
Thanks to their intervention, the sports day has been a successful event till now and witnessed over 185 kids in its last edition.
“We expect a lot more footprint in our next editions,” says Mitra. In the future, the team would like to include more children and expand the range of activities. Ideally, they want to replicate it in six other branches around the country.