BHUBANESWAR: Goutam’s father beamed with pride as his son walked up to the stage to receive the ‘Prerana Samman’ award for outstanding performance in Standard X examination this year. Born without two hands, Goutam wrote the tests with his feet and scored 83 per cent.
Visual imparity was never an impediment for the second awardee Chinmaya Dhal who scored 90 per cent in the board examination. While being felicitated, Chinmaya said the best moment of his life was when he was informed of securing 100 per cent marks in Mathematics.
Prerana Samman was conferred on 12 students with disabilities from across the State. The award was conceptualised by social organisation for welfare of People With Disabilities (PWDs), Swabhiman, to recognise top scoring students with disabilities in Class X and XII examinations.
Speaking on the occasion, CEO of Swabhiman Shruti Mohapatra said, “There are hundreds of physically challenged children in the State who are exceptionally talented, but lack of opportunities deprived them of any kind of recognition.”
Hailing the determination of the awardees, Mohapatra said the students have successfully faced all challenges and scored brilliantly. “Prerana is an initiative to identify and recognise such children which would act as a motivation for many others,” she added.
Addressing students and their parents at the ceremony, Secretary, Department of Culture and Tourism, Arabinda Padhee said there are a lot of inadequacies in the system which need to be addressed for providing scope to specially-abled children.
“Stakeholders in policy making for welfare of PWDs should work in synergy to make Government schemes more accessible. They should prioritise on providing moral and logistical assistance to specially-abled students and improve their quality of life,” Padhee said.
During the function, stakeholders of two projects Adhyayan and Swavalamban started by Swabhiman were felicitated.
Among others, renowned sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik and Tata Steel CSR head Ambika Prasad Nanda were present.