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Posted at: Aug 3, 2017, 2:27 AM; last updated: Aug 3, 2017, 2:27 AM (IST)

Hearing-impaired athletes get grand welcome in city

Hearing-impaired athletes get grand welcome in city
Patiala DC Kumar Amit with Sumit and Gursimran, two athletes from the Patiala School for Deaf, after their arrival in Patiala on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Rajesh Sachar

Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 2

Though none of the officials from the Sports Ministry or the Sports Authority of India (SAI) was present to receive the contingent of hearing-impaired athletes at the Delhi International Airport, Sumit and Gursimran, two athletes from Patiala School for Deaf who represented India in the World Deaf Olympics, were warmly received by the school and the district authorities here.

The World Deaf Olympics was held from July 21 to July 31 in Turkey. The school is being run by the Society for Welfare of the Handicapped since 1967. Society members and city residents arrived at the railway station to receive the athletes. To give them a rousing welcome, a procession of jeeps, cars, bikes and schools buses has been taken out from the railway station to Amar Aashram, where Patiala Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kumar Amit received them.

Sumit, a student of Class IX, had won a bronze medal in wrestling, while Gursimran stood ninth out of 100 athletes in the high jump event.

“It is a proud moment for our family and relatives, as being a special child, Gursimran has achieved a great success after a long spell of hard work,” Gursimran’s mother said.

Secretary Col Karminder Singh (retd) said, “The institution is being run without any grant from the government and students are regularly learning well in all aspects of life.”

The DC praised the work being done by the society and all-round progress made by the schools. He said it was a proud moment for all citizens of the country, especially Patiala residents, as these special children made them proud by achieving positions in the important events.

ADC Punamdeep Kaur, District Sports Officer Upkar Singh, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Parneet Shergill, and DSP Sukh Amrit Singh were present on the occasion.

Society for Welfare of the Handicapped

The society was founded by late Amar Singh Kamboj in 1967 with a view to integrate hearing and visually-impaired children in the mainstream. The society on date is managing the Patiala School for the Deaf, Patiala School for the Blind and Patiala School for the Deafblind under the guidance of Col Karminder Singh (retd), secretary of the society and son of Amar Singh.

Right from the first day to date, no fee is charged from the students and special education still continues to be free of cost to all students. Moreover, the society is not in receipt of any government grant.

Though for the first 15 years, these schools were financially supported by its founder, it started receiving donations as the schools became popular. Till date, the schools still function only on donations received from public. The schools provide admission to all deaf and blind children without any consideration and offer quality-education to children from across North India, including J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Till date, approximately 600 deaf children and 400 blind children have passed out from these schools after Class X or Class XII.

The society is a pioneer in North India in the field of education for children with special needs. It has come a long way from being an academic institute to an institution which realises personal independence, economic self-reliance and social inclusion for special children. The society has also been adjudged as the Best NGO in India in child welfare activities in 2015 and was awarded by the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi, which speaks volumes about its credentials.

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