13 nationally selected persons with disabilities from India will participate at the 10th International Abilympics, the global skills competition for persons with disabilities in Metz, France scheduled from March 23-26, 2023. Representing India in the 12 Skill Categories, the contingent has entered the last leg of their practice sessions, motivational & behavioural sessions in Delhi from 12th of March post the multiple boot camps being held across the country. The team hailing from across the country like Surat, Mumbai, Jabalpur, Vijaywada, Chennai, Pune, Mysore, Bhavnagar, Gaya and Chandigarh will participate in select trades from overall 45 Competitive skill categories, under ICT, Crafts, Hospitality, Services and Industry. The event aims to create public awareness and nurture the productive talent of persons with disabilities by providing them opportunities to acquire and enhance their vocational skills to achieve economic independence.
Organized by the Abilympics France association in partnership with WorldSkills France, this major event will meet nearly 1500 participants from across the globe. Abilympics (Olympics of Abilities): a movement of ‘Excellence in Skilling’ comprises of vocational skills competitions, specifically designed for Persons with Disabilities (PwD), to screen and showcase the best talent in vocational skill categories like IT, Arts & Crafts, Hospitality and Services.
Dr. Jitendra Aggarwal, Founder CEO Sarthak Educational Trust & Secretary General NAAI shares, ” “Participating in Abilympics proves highly beneficial for PwD because they compete with similar kinds of people to show their special talent & skills. In addition, they get exposure to find better job opportunities in the government sector as well as with big brands. This step also boosts their confidence while helping in living an independent life. We are poised to provide exposure and equal opportunities for disabled persons with advanced technologies in various vocational, leisure and living skills thus boosting their confidence as the abilympics demonstrate the professional excellence of persons with disabilities in a competitive situation.”.
Since 2016, National Abilympic Association of India (NAAI) and Sarthak Educational Trust has been jointly paving the way for more inclusive approach towards the cause of disability inclusivity by working closely with Government Agencies, Corporate Bodies, Civil Societies, and PwDs from rural & urban India.
The boot camps & training sessions are conducted across the country and several organizations & corporate have joined hands to train the participants. Painting, Embroidery training is been conducted at Lady Irwin College, Tailoring & Dress Making is held at ATDC, Gurugram, Poster Designing at SGT University, Gurugram, Bakery at St. Regis Hotel, Mumbai, Restaurant Service in Efcee Sarovar, Bhavnagar and more.
Chetan Pashilkar from Mumbai who is hearing impaired and representing India in Skill Category – Painting & Decoration shares, “During my special schooling in early childhood, I had a knack to make sketches. I soon realized that it is more than just a hobby and am gifted with the talent of arts. To learn more in the field and polish my skills, I completed my Masters in Fine Arts. For International Abilympics I am being trained on a weekly basis online by the faculty of Lady Irwin College. I also attended the offline training boot camp in Delhi in January 2022”
Mohit Majety who is also representing in the Skill Category – Photography (Outdoor) adds, “I have locomotor disability by birth in hand and right leg. Accordingly, I was unable to accomplish routine tasks like normal people. After completing my schooling, I decided to pursue B.Tech from IIT, Kharagpur, where I realized my love for outdoor photography. I started clicking pictures and my work was liked by my friends and Professors. The appreciation and motivation prompted me to indulge in it more and it became a passion for me and now representing India in International Abilympics to be held France-2023”
India has made efforts in promoting inclusivity and accessibility in various fields, including education, employment etc. However, there is still a long way to go to ensure that people with disabilities have equal opportunities to succeed and represent their country on the global stage. Discrimination, stigmatization, and lack of accessibility are still prevalent in many areas of society. Nonetheless, India has taken positive steps towards inclusion, and we hope this progress continues in the future.
Encl: Participant profiles, category of participation, disability details:
1. Manhar Chauhan from Surat, Gujarat is representing India in the category of Skill- Photography (Studio).Manhar Chauhan has 75% locomotor disability. Manhar, after completing schooling in Surat, got motivated by his elder brother who is a professional photographer to take up Photography as a profession. And soon he realized his growing interest and passion in the field.
2. Chetan Pashilkar from Mumbai, Maharashtra is representing India in Skill Category – Painting & Decoration and his Disability is Hearing Impaired. Chetan Pashilkar was born with complete Hearing loss. During his special schooling in his early childhood, he had a knack to make sketches. He soon realized that it is more than just a hobby and he is gifted with the talent of arts. To learn more in the field and polish his skills, he completed his Masters in Fine Arts.
3. Priyanka Dabade from Mumbai, Maharashtra is representing India in the Skill Category – Embroidery And her Disability is Hearing Impaired. Priyanka Dabade’s story is about a little girl who had to grow up quicker than many. When Priyanka was five years old, she lost her father. But with immense support from her mother, she developed amazing drawing and painting skills. And now, at the age of 22, she has completed a diploma in fashion design and even a degree in embroidery.
4. Rajneesh Aggarwal from Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) is representing India in the Skill Category – Web Designing and his Disability is Locomotor Disability. Rajneesh Aggarwal is a man with a mission. Despite having a 90% locomotor disability, he is pursuing his dreams. He completed his Bachelors and Masters in Computer Tech. and Applications from SRIT, RGPV, Madhya Pradesh, and went on to become a web designer and coder.
5. Mohit Majety from Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh is representing India in the Skill Category – Photography (Outdoor) and his Disability is also Locomotor Disability. Having a Locomotor disability of 45%, Mohit is a living example of not giving up during testing times. After completing his schooling, Mohit decided to pursue B.Tech from IIT, Kharagpur, where he realized his love for outdoor photography.
6. P. Sai Krishnan hailing from Chennai, Tamil Nadu is participating in the Skill Category – Photography (Outdoor) and his Disability is also Locomotor Disability. P. Sai Krishnan has 80% Locomotor disability but right from childhood, his strong determination, and eagerness to learn and explore helped him pursue his dreams. Photography has always fascinated him as his father’s younger brother was a photographer and so while pursuing B.Sc in Physics and MCPS Engineer, he started to work on his photography skills.
7. Bhagyashri Nadimetala from Pune, Maharashtra is representing India in the Skill Category – Dress Making (Basic) and her Disability is Hearing Impairment . Born as a healthy baby, Bhagyashri suddenly lost her hearing power due to an accident on her 2nd birthday. As she grew up, she developed her interest and talent in Art & Embroidery. When she was in 10th standard, she started learning at a local tailor and later did a professional course in the same. She pursued her masters in Fine Arts with the support of her family.
8. Omkar Deorukhar from Pune, Maharashtra is representing India in the Skill Category – Poster Designing. His Disability is Hearing Impairment.Omkar was born with 100% Hearing impairment but he never let it become his weakness. The supportive attitude of his family and friends from the beginning helped him to complete his schooling. While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Pune, he started learning to use various software and created and designed posters which was also a part of his professional requirement.
9. Avinash KS from Mysore, Karnataka is representing India in the Skill Category – Jewellery Making at the International Abilympics. Avinash, a young man from Mysuru, India, was born with a hearing impairment. He has been using his hearing aid since childhood and has always been fascinated by the glittering windows of Jewellery stores. After school, he joined a jewellery design and technology course at JSS College in Mysuru and completed his diploma.
10. Farukh Shiekh from Bhavnagar, Gujarat is representing India in the Skill Category – Restaurant Service and his Disability is Hearing impairment. Due to poor financial conditions, he started his career as a Steward to stand on his own feet after passing 10th standard. He was well supported by his managers and training department of the hotel from the time he joined.
11. Kashif Khan from Mumbai (Maharashtra) is representing India in the Skill Category – – Patisserie and Confectionary. Kashif has had 99% Hearing Impairment since birth. His family ensured that he completed his schooling despite limited resources. After completing schooling, he wanted to become independent and support his family. His determination made him realize his passion for baking. He started working in bakery department of St. Regis Hotel, Mumvai and despite facing many problems since childhood he handled every situation like a fighter and achieved great success
12. Md. Shamim Alam from Gaya, Bihar is representing India in the Skill Category – Tailoring.. Shamim was born with locomotor disability, affecting 48% of his legs. Despite this, his father guided and supported him through his studies. He completed schooling until 10th grade but had to drop out due to poor financial conditions. He then started helping his father with tailoring work at home.
13. Narendra Luthra from Chandigarh is representing India in the Skill Category – Word Processing.Narinder has locomotor disability of 80%, but that hasn’t stopped him from living his best life. His family has always been supportive, and this has allowed him to pursue his education at Punjab University and is now working successfully in the same University.