Amitasha N. Mishra and Sahil Singh, the Unified Pair (a pair of youth with and without Intellectual Disability) of Uttar Pradesh led an unexplored module of a Skipping Competition yesterday in virtual space challenging the Athletes and their Unified Partners to face-off in a fairly new skill during the lockdown. Even if the Athletes did not win, it was encouraging to see few start with almost not knowing the skill , moving on to showing a significant improvement in the subsequent video submissions.
Fifty two participants across eight teams from the five states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Rajasthan showcased their best performance. The event was part of the SNF (Stavros Niarchos Foundation) supported program running across four states of India, namely, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, West Bengal and Haryana.
This event was organized by the SO Bharat- UP chapter garnering support from local partners as well- The Shriram Millenium School, Faridabad; Study Hall, Lucknow and Jeevandhara Rehabilitation Research Institute (Bareilly). The event amplified the message of Inclusion by combining Special Athletes with new Unified Partners, laying the foundation of new friendships. All participants were from diverse background whereas many were neo-digital users; however that did not stop them practicing together (digitally) participating in a competition which was completely backed by technology.
Two weeks of selections, practices and final submissions culminated in a virtual felicitation ceremony conducted yesterday with an overall attendance of approx. 200 persons from India, Singapore, Pakistan and Indonesia. Heads of three National Institutes, working for persons with disabilities also present, representing the Govt of India.
Dr Amitav Mishra , General Secretary SO Bharat and the Chairperson of the SO Bharat- UP Chapter: “As our planned events of March and April could not happen due to lockdown; the youth leaders through a series of meetings and workshop came out with the concept of virtual Unified Sports. We provided complete support to the unified leadership to carry out the experiment. It was too good to experiment the concept on 52 players in the presence of a large number of virtual viewers. The event not only engaged a large number of athletes in physical exercises, but also it connected with their peers without disabilities creating a large space in building an inclusive society.
Conception of the Idea
Belonging to the Science stream, it’s no surprise that Amitasha would be inclined towards Innovation-This is what she did exactly, as soon as the lockdown was announced- putting pen to paper on the next steps rather than musing over it. Amitasha came up with an idea of a virtual sporting activity. She placed all facts before herself- Social distancing above all. Skipping being her favorite sport became the star of her plan- ‘Virtual Unified Skipping Competition’
Amitasha Nanda Mishra is a student of the 11th Grade at the Sriram Millenium School, Faridabad, Haryana pursuing Science with Biology being her favorite subject. She plays Basketball and practices Yoga. She has participated in the National Yoga Competitio
n held in Haridwar, UP, in the U- 17 category along with
approx. 200 participants, about 3 years back. Having been a part of the SO Bharat family for over ten years, she finally came to the forefront as a Youth leader assuming a well-defined role during the ongoing SNF project
Anxious to proceed with her role of engaging her co- leaders, she decided to merge Sports with technology to break the lockdown monotony. After joining the dots, she involved her father to strengthen the module and without much delay popped up a plan! Keeping Inclusion as the goal, she ran the plan through her partner with Intellectual disability, Sahil Singh, for a discussion. Sahil and I greatly match in our choice of Basketball and Yoga. We decided to have the family members involved, especially to support the participating Athletes. The teams would comprise of two Youth leaders with ID and two without. Her plan is complete with all the details down to an opening and closing ceremony within the scheduled 60 minute time period. Complete Plan
Amitasha has been participating in Special Olympics since 2008. At the age of 4-5 she joined the Torch Run, Young Athletes, later supported in organizing the events and has now reached out to more youth leaders encouraging them to join the movement. “Being involved with SO for so long has shown me so many success stories. I have seen so much confidence building up in the Athletes and also within myself. Being a shy person, the exposure has helped me open up and make new friends. I feel extremely happy and honoured engaging with the Special Olympics movement”, says Amitasha
I recall Vasu Tiwari, an Athlete in Bareilly- He is so social, so caring. He wishes me and my family on our birthdays every year. Remembering such small details makes me feel so nice. I have learnt this from him
Amitasha manages 10 schools – special, mainstream and integrated, as part of the SNF project. “Through the SNF Project there has been an increased access and engagement in school based Inclusive Sports and education. In the past couple of years I have seen 50-60 new active youth and Athlete leaders joining Special Olympics, which is delightful to see. I actually thank the SNF project for providing us with so many new opportunities and goals enabling us at the forefront, making us feel empowered”
She is currently attending 5-6 hours of online classes daily.As she is preparing for the XIIth grade and is expecting her participation in SO to diminish in the coming months, due to the Board exams, she is in conversation with 2-3 Youth leaders amongst whom she will select one to delegate this role to.
The names of the schools (State of UP) she manages on the SNF side:
- Almamater Senior Secondary School, Bareilly
- Chickar International School, Bareilly
- Police Modern School, Mathura
- Samvid International School, Mathura
- Harshit Public School Meerut
- Jaipuria School Lucknow
- Study Hall, Lucknow
- JSR Special School, Nainital
- Sri Guru Nanak Public School Nainital
- Little Scholars, Nainital