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How Priyanka shattered the barrier of disability and represented India at the Special Olympics

 

“It’s not our disabilities, it’s our abilities that count”, proves 18-year-old Priyanka Hasija. Priyanka was diagnosed with marked intellectual disability and mental retardation at the age of 12. As a result, she had poor personal, social and academic skills and was entirely dependent on her mother for performing all daily activities. Distraught and worried, her mother got her enrolled into our validated and supported NGO, Khushboo in their ‘Blessings’ programme. Priyanka was closely observed by the counsellors at the centre and they identified that she was also suffering from predominant attention seeking disorder and was not able to recognise articles of daily use. Special focus was given to her by the educators and therapists at Khushboo to impart advanced training on wide range of Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and functional academics.

Adapting to a well-planned and executed approach over the years brought remarkable enhancement in her abilities. She achieved independence in ADLs and improvement in academics and turned into a confident person. Newly acquired survival skills helped her cook a basic meal for herself. One remarkable aspect of her personality that came to the forefront was her inclination towards sports and her physical prowess. Special attention and training was given to her and opportunities for participation in local and regional competitions were provided. She won numerous medals at these competitions, excelling in power lifting, handball throwing and sprints. The most significant turn in her life was the National Level Special Olympic Games held by ‘Special Olympics Bharat’ in Patiala in June 2014, where she bagged four gold medals in all categories of powerlifting and one medal each in handball and 50 metres sprint. Recognising her potential for achieving greater laurels for the country at international level, she was selected and trained at the preparatory training camps of Special Olympics Bharat as a promising participant for the ‘2015 Special Olympics World Games’ at Los Angeles, USA.  A total of 25 contingents participated in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games and Priyanka won four bronze medals in various categories of power weightlifting events. Priyanka not made her family proud with her extraordinary achievements, but also made our nation proud and realised her true potential. She proved that with strong determination and perseverance anyone can shatter the barrier of disability and can achieve the impossible.

Khushboo Welfare Society is a OneStage validated and supported NGO and is aided by our corporate partner Royal Bank of Scotland under our Give As You Earn programme.

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