A LUDHIANA OLYMPIAN WHO WON TWO GOLDS IN 2015 SPECIAL OLYMPICS TAKES CARE OF THE ELDERLY NOW TO EARN A LIVING

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The Hush Post: A country’s graph of prosperity does not necessarily depend only on the rise and fall of economic indices, there are social indicators which much match up with the other benchmarks. Here, India lacks in putting the less privileged or people in special categories above the mainstream. It would have been a matter of shame for any other country which would take extra care of special people. A 15-year-old special child Rajbir Singh from Ludhiana’s Siar village was on top of the world when he was loaded with so much appreciation, praise, gifts, acclaim when he fetched two golds for India in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in the 1-km and 2-km cycling events in Los Angeles, US.  Media men and political leaders queued to his small house to interview him and speak of his feats and to encourage him to march forward with more vigour. His family thought it was the end of misery for them and that it was possible because of their intellectually unsound child was a coveted achievement. Three years down the line, this special child is working as a caretaker in an old age home. After winning the golds, initially he started working as a labourer along with his father when the state government failed to pay the cash prize, Rs 15 lakh for each gold medal. The family received Rs 10 lakh from the central government which they used in buying land to build a house which still lies incomplete after funds finished.  Even after knocking at many doors in government offices, he kept trying in vain.

When the father could not bear the pain and suffering of his son picking up stones and mortar on his shoulders, he shifted him to a shelter for disabled and homeless. “At least there he doesn’t have to pick stones and bricks. They give him food and place to live,” his father said.Founder of an NGO ‘Manukhta Di Sewa’ Gurpreet Singh came to know about Rajbir’s condition and took him to village Baran Hara where Rajbir does the odd jobs for the elderly. Gurpreet gave him a cycle, earlier a Ludhiana businessman had given him a cycle barely a month before he participated in the special olympics,  and took care of his medicines and diet. Rajbir pushes the wheelchairs of the disabled, gives them food, water, helps them bathe, and performs other odd jobs. He earns about Rs 5,000 a month as salary at the shelter.

Rajbir suffers from intellectual disability that is charaterised by below average general intellectual and adaptive functioning. He studied under a special project of the education department, Children with Special Needs (CWSN). He has difficulty in reading and writing but due to his good physique, Rajbir always preformed well in sports.

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