umeed-utsav-2011Children and youth, who are handicapped or differently abled in some way or the other, are still capable of leading a fruitful and hopeful life, growing up into worthy members of our society.

This has been the hope and mission of the Disabled Sports and Welfare Academy, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) of Patna, which organized a unique function – Ummeed Utsav (Festival of Hope) – on December 4 and 5, 2011 at Shaheed Devipad Choudhury Miller High School, Patna. On this occasion 300 differently abled young boys and girls from various special schools of the State assembled and demonstrated their skill to kindle the light of hope for all those present there to watch their capabilities and talent. Shri Sushil Kumar Modi, Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, inaugurated the function. Also present on the occasion were Hon’ble Sh. Shivanand Tiwary, (M.P.), Hon’ble Minister Food and Supply Department, Sh. Shyam Rajak, Hon’ble Minister of Labour and Resources Department, Government of Bihar, Hon’ble Dr. Jagannath Mishra, former Chief Minister, Sh. Bipin Kumar, IAS, Sh. Rajiv Kumar Singh, IAS and other eminent citizens.

umeed-utsav-2011-2The Utsav encouraged the participants to sharpen their abilities further. Prizes were awarded to the deserving candidates and their schools who competed in the sports competitions held as part of the Utsav. Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder, Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement was the chief guest. Addressing the gathering and blessing the children and the youth present in the Utsav Dr. Pathak said, physical challenges that we see in the boys and girls may be congenital or caused by accidents due to natural or human factors. Many of these are beyond the control of the parents or the kids themselves. We may not be aware of the fact that the physical or mental disabilities require earliest medical attention and care. Such cases need proper care at the early stage to face the handicaps. Indicating some progress made in providing ways and means to enable the differently abled to grow and develop their personality, Dr. Pathak said, the modern lifestyle and challenges have, however, complicated the situation. Proper care needs to be taken for keeping one’s living and surrounding places neat and tidy, he added, growing population, specially in cities, is overtaxing our natural resources, leading to pollution of the environment as well as human mind. Non-availability of clean water and air, which are the basic requirements of life, affect the children and youth adversely, more than what they do to the adults. They are infected with a number of diseases like cholera, dysentery, tapeworm, hookworm etc. causing weakness and loss of blood. Along with making people aware of these things, it is also important to bring a change in our attitude towards the physically and mentally retarded or disabled children. They deserve encouragement and proper care, Dr. Pathak said. He narrated his experience of observing a programme on a Doordarshan Channel in which young boys and girls were displaying wonderful artistic performances on their wheelchairs. He was told that the great experiment was the work of a Kathak dance teacher.

umeed-utsav-2011-3Congratulating the participating boys and girls Dr. Pathak exhorted them to live “creatively, hopefully and fruitfully”. He also announced a grant of Rs. 5 lakh to the Academy, Rs. 2000 each to the 300 participating children and Rs. 5000 each to the eight female and male workers of the Academy.

The Chairman of the Academy, Sh. Sudhanshu Ranjan, an eminent media person of Doordarshan announced that a Vocational Computer Training programme would be arranged for Dalit boys and girls from the funds granted to the Academy. He thanked Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak for his generous help and encouragement as well as Sh. Mahesh Agrawal, an industrialist from Raxaul, Bihar, who announced an annual grant of Rs. 21000 for the Academy.

Sh. Arun Kumar, a well-known journalist, is the Deputy Chairman and Sh. Suman Kumar who is himself a differently abled person is the Secretary of the Academy.