More than a dozen physically challenged people, consisting staff and clients of proVISION ASIA will show they are made of mettle when they wheel into the Kanteerava stadium this Sunday May 23 morning 7am to participate in the Sunfeast Marathon Wheelchair event. Joining hundreds of shoe-clad runners and social service minded cheerleaders, the nearly dozen members of pA will stand out in the army of runners by telling the world, "Yes, we can."
Here are profiles of a few of proVISIONites who will be participating at the marathon with a brief about who they were, who they are ,who they want to be and how proVISION ASIA figures in their lives.
Muniswamy, Ability Connections Co-ordinator, proVISION ASIA.
When proVISION Asia was still in its infant stages, it was the plight of Muniswamy who used to rear sheep on his wheeled wooden plank, that inspired Chip and Jean to start Ability Connections at proVISION ASIA that addressed the challenges faced by the physically challenged who also are economically backward. Now, as the Ability Connections Co-ordinator, Muniswamy takes care of identifying the physically challenged who need our help and introducing pA to them and helping them receive mobility aids, school fee assistance, physiotherapy, employment and government advocacy. (Thanks to Muni, thousands of people receive a monthly disability pension of Rs.1000)
The 2 things Muni absolutely cannot do without is his cell phone and his motorized 3 wheeler. At any time of the day, if Muni is not travelling within the city assisting clients, he is sure to be found talking on his phone with a client on his cell phone! He is a classic example of a self taught individual. Although he never went to school, Muni, with his experience and his communication skills can give any Social work graduate a run for his/her money!
Sandesh is one of the most accomplished sports persons we have from proVISION ASIA. Having participated in numerous state, national and international events,Sandesh has won over 14 medals for athletics, volleyball and Shot Put. At last year’s Sunfeast 10K, Sandesh came 5th in the wheelchair event and thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Marathon. proVISION encourages Sandesh by providing him with light weight Sports Wheelchairs that facilitate and help him perform better in competitions. Sandesh now an employee at Mysore Sandal Soap and represents them at Sports events. We hope Sandesh makes us more proud by winning gold medals at the next Paralympics Games.
Shahina, introduced to pA through a friend took an instant liking to the pA’s atmosphere was employed at Vision Craft where a group of differently abled clients were involved in making artifacts and paper bags. Identifying her good communication skill, she was soon made part of the Front Office where she worked till 2004. She now works at the Dept for the welfare of the Disabled and Senior Citizens.
“proVISION gave me the confidence to be the person I am today. The interaction with the staff, the work culture helped me break out of my shell and made me more confident. Thanks to proVISION, I now have Crutches and a modified 2 wheeler that has made me self reliant” says Shahina.
In the year 2007, Shahina participated in a National level competition for the Physically challenged and bagged Gold medals in discuss throw, Javelin throw, shot put and the wheelchair race. Now, her main focus is Power lifting and is currently training for a competition in due to take place in July. “My aim is to participate in the Commonwealth games and win medals” she says with a smile on her face. With the dedication and passion she has towards the sport, we don’t see any reason why her dreams cannot become a reality soon.
If you spot a modified black Scooty Pep with a woman rider zoom past you on the road, there’s a good chance the rider is Beulah! She was working with pA as a receptionist for 3 years from 2006 and proVISION helped her raise enough funds for a modified Scooty Pep. The opportunity one has when there is nothing inhibiting their mobility is immense and Beulah is testimony to that.
Beulah is now trying to set up a day care center for little children as she loves being around kids. A cheerful face and an infectious laughter are the 2 things that immediately come to mind when one thinks of Beulah. Here’s hoping that Beulah has more reasons to smile and many occasions to infect people with her laughter!
The Sunday run, we hope, will help achieve our goal to spread the message of hope and wholeness through self-reliance and to make a positive, life-changing impact in the situation of every physically challenged individual in and around the Bangalore area. Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday!