Towards end of the year 2012 , Nishant Sharma and his friend , Indrapal Singh, both Coaches with SO Bharat decided to open ‘Blessing for all’ , a residential facility for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. Beginning with 4 residents, the facility had Nishant and his family involved at a personal level, where he went to train them, often stayed with them and served them food cooked by his mother. There was no plan that moved beyond one for the day. Within two years the number of residents increased to 12 along with two paid staff including a Special Educator and a caretaker. Funds that came from parents, family and friends were scarce and inconsistent.
When refused permission to participate at a National Coaching Camp held in Agra, Nishant left his job with a school at that time and started to take tutions. While the Children attended a Special School in the morning, they came to Nishant in the evenings. The fees he charged was utilized in running Blessing for All.
Meeting the Parent community regularly led to deliberations over making the experience more meaningful for their children. They seemed unhappy about being oblivious of activities undertaken in the Special School. Nishant researched, visited a few schools to understand the structure, activities and impact. Sports, Speech Therapy, Behaviour Modification and Music were fields he struggled to structure in his mind to fulfil the desires of the parent community. Parents became a part of the planning process.
The Vir Bhavya Society took genesis through deep rooted passion and resolve to bring about transformation in the lives of persons with and without Intellectual disabilties. It targeted the community as much as the Athletes.
“Participation of our Athletes at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015 and all the Media Coverage that followed established credibility in the minds of the people. Felicitation of the Medallists by the Chief Minister of the State of Uttar Pradesh exposed abilities of our Athletes to the local Community . The impact of Special Olympics was right in front of them.More and more people began to approach me”- Nishant Sharma
The Vir Bhavya Society was launched on 15 September 2015 with 9 members and Nishant as the President. Along with financial support coming from the parents of the Athletes, he utilized his savings to support the project.
However, Challenges manifested themselves in varied ways. Neighbours objected to sounds they would hear sometimes. Taking the Athletes to different academies to enable them pursue their respective sport disciplines, posed problems while they walked down to the venues. But for the time being Nishant had to continue with the way things were.
The project progressed despite all, through his perseverance as well as consistent support of the parents and in July 2016 the Society shifted to a larger property which could provide residential as well as sports facilities.
Vir Bhavya Society was recently inaugurated in its new location, inviting Senior officials from the defence services, local authorities, neighbours and over 40 students from the Divya Jyoti College of Dental Sciences, Modinagar, UP
The current strength of the school is 26 out of which 15 are Residents. The School runs from 9AM-1PM followed by Sports practises held from 4PM-6PM, Monday through Saturday. Every Saturday, along side Sports training, the Young Athlete Program is conducted There is a recreational outing planned every Sunday.
The school trains the athletes in vocational fields like candle making, greeting cards, flower pottery as well as a session on Money Concept taken by Nishant. There are salaried teachers in the ratio, 1 for 3 Athletes. The School is visited regularly by Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and Physiotherapists. ADL (Activities of Daily Living) Training takes place all the time. Post lunch , 7 Coaches including 5 from Special Olympics Bharat train the Athletes in 7 sport disciplines, including, Athletics, Football, Badminton, Volleyball, Roller Skating, Cycling, Cricket. Power lifting is in the pipeline as the machines are in the process of being arranged.
Nishant Sharma joined SO Bharat in 2010. He completed the Advanced Coaches Training Program (ACTP) and MYAS Master Trainer’s Course from LNIPE, Gwalior and participated actively in The National Games held in Chennai, India in 2012.He has a dual Diploma in Special Education in ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and MR (Mental Retardation). Nishant became a National Trainer in 2013-14. He traveled to Dhaka in May 2014 as Coach of the winning team which participated in the first Special Olympics South Asian Unified Cricket Tournament, followed by his participation at the Special Olympics World Summer Games , LA, 2015 as Coach of the Volley Ball team which won a Bronze medal.
Nishant ensures that all his Athletes undergo dental screenings regularly. He takes them to Suneedhi, a Special Care Clinic running from Divya Jyoti College of Dental Sciences, Modinagar, UP. Members of the Vir Bhavya Society are currently, deliberating on hiring a bus which would make travel of Athletes frequent and easy. The process of planning and implementation continues, to make the experience truely memorable and transformational.
Achievement for me is that a few neighbours who objected to having a facility for Athletes in their neighbourhood, come over to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions with us– Nishant. More : http://specialneedssociety.org