Prabha Devi: Poised for Success
Meet Prabha, a 17 year old bursting with ideas, enthusiasm, and energy.
Sharing her skills
Buoyed by her success at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens and the Vidya Stokes Award from the Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Prabha wants to work with children like her, offering them the same skills and opportunities she received in the last five years. She lives in Himachal Pradesh, studying in Prem Ashram, a residential special school.
Nurturing a Champion
Born in Kullu into a very poor family, Prabha's father died before she was born. Prabha’s mother worked as a school helper, struggling to keep her family of three financially afloat.
The lack of money meant that Prabha could only afford to attend school beginning at age 10 and only then she was diagnosed with low IQ. Before this, she spent most of her time at home, helping her mother with household chores. Prabha tried to catch up with her peers socially and academically, but did not succeed. The frustration forced her to leave school two years later.
Her uncle learned of Prem Ashram and enrolled Prabha there in 2007. Apart from basic special school education, Prabha learns vocational skills like cooking and IT.
What Prabha lacked in academics, she made up for in sports, excelling in roller skating, bocce and football. The budding athlete focused primarily on roller skating, training in her new school. Prem Ashram has been a partner of Special Olympics Bharat since 2000 and through this connection Prabha participated at different sports camps and competitions at the district, state and international level.
According to Sister Neelam, Prabha’s teacher, these opportunities for sports participation made Prabha more active and confident. At camps and competitions, she interacts with other athletes, improves her technique and prepares for new challenges.
The change is already evident. Prabha triumphed in the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, winning two Gold Medals and one Bronze in individual and team events.
These accumulative experiences transformed Prabha from a shy, introverted child into a happy, social young person. She now sees herself as someone who can contribute to her community, through coaching other athletes, to bring sporting glory for herself, family, school and country.
Her mother too is thrilled with Prabha’s achievements. “People see me now as the mother as an achiever, not a disabled child. Prabha has brought glory not just to the village but to the country.”
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