All of the 534 blocks spread across 38 districts in Bihar have an isolation centre (to cater to the suspected & the infected people) and a quarantine centre (for travellers) each. A helpline was set up a few weeks back specifically for Persons with Disabilities. 15000 grievances were received and action over them is in the offing. Following the complaints, Dr Shivajee Kumar, Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities directed the District Administrations to ensure that special arrangements are in place for Persons with Disabilities.
The helpline facilitates a recorded message from the aggrieved that reaches a central number which tracks the location to extend necessary support. The State along with supporting groups and organizations have provided Hearing aid, wheelchair, pension etc as required. The State Govt has announced relief measures for PwDs as well. These measures to an extent, have offset the distressing challenges thrown by the continuing global crisis.
Dr Shivajee Kumar has been the Area Director of SO Bharat – Bihar since 2001 and has been holding the office of the State Disability Commissioner since April 2018. As a Special Olympics program leader, during this period, he has organized multiple Virtual Unified competitions in Singing, Dancing (on the International Dance Day) drawing, Art & Craft, each witnessing a participation of over 300 from all over the state. He ensured that every event commenced with informing the current status of the Covid 19 situation, the precautions to be taken to prevent it along with the preparation of the State to face it.
Another virtual event during this period saw a convergence of over 700 parents of specifically, Persons with Intellectual Disabilities from the state. The discussions highlighted the varied issues faced by the parents, from behaviour problems to opportunities, pension, availability of food etc. The parents were connected with the relevant support system, the psychologists and/or with the relevant experts.
Sandeep Kumar , associated with SO Bharat since 2005, is the Sports Director of the State Chapter and has trained over 1200 Special Athletes. He has also been a Para – Athlete in ‘Athletics’. He participated in the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015 as Coach for Athletics
Sandeep intended ushering a new innings in the New Year 2020. He conducted a recreational model of Unified Gymnastics in Jan 2020, driven through his expertise of being a National Gymnast. He formed a team of 6 members, with a Special Athlete in each of the teams, to begin with. He says, “Gymnastics improves flexibility and can reduce the chances of an injury’’, therefore recommending it for every sportsperson. The excitement rose to put regular practises in a plan. However, very soon, the plans had to be shelved due to an unprecedented crisis- the grounds closed and the outdoor movement shut.
According to him, “Special Olympics is a unique platform which explores a potential in each and every Athlete. There is no one with no sports potential- NO ONE”. Having trained many Athletes, he can recall vividly the Athlete Rajat , who demonstrated aggressive behaviour, sometimes even flinging hard and sharp objects at persons within close proximity. Three years down, and he has seen a sea change in Rajat through his regular sports participation.
For Sandeep , Covid 19 has changed his plans but not eliminated them totally. He ensures that even today his Athletes stay in practise. He records a demo of the activity which he wants the Athletes to do. The video is shared with all and then the Athletes send him back a recording of their practise.
The State of Bihar contains and strengthens Inclusivity as Dr Shivajee promotes it at a macro level while Sandeep and many more mentors adapt and modify plans to maintain the Athlete’s fitness and skill.