With scuba diving, persons with disability prove there are no limits

Manasi Saraf Joshi
Friday, 6 April 2018

Divyanshu said, “I lost eyesight when I was 19 years old. Like any other person, it took me a while to overcome the trauma."

PUNE: There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Well, this came true for 40 years old Divyanshu Ganatra who lost his eyesight at the age of 19 to glaucoma. But today, he's not only a successful social entrepreneur but also runs a NGO, Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation (ABBF) for persons with disability by organising various adventure sports for them.

Talking to Sakal Times, Divyanshu said, “I lost eyesight when I was 19 years old. Like any other person, it took me a while to overcome the trauma. But I was sure I will not be doing the cane furniture and chalk for rest of my life. I turned to IT as in 90's it was an emerging field. But always wanted to do something different and turned to become a clinical psychologist, behavioral facilitator and social entrepreneur."

"Certainly, the journey was not smooth. But four years back when in 2014 I became the first blind paraglider solo, I got the attention and realised the joy in it. And thus was born the ABBF through which we oragnise adventures sports for the disabled who are assisted by the abled (normal) people while completing the task."

He said, “During this scuba diving event, we had 10 participants who were disabled like injuries to spinal chord, paraplegic or quadriplegic, amputees (many of them had no sensation below neck). We trained them at the Temple Adventures (private firm) swimming pool and then carried out the adventures sports from January 22nd to 24th in the sea. This is the first feat in India where scuba diving was performed by disabled people." 

"In our sports category we have blind runners, trekkers, tandem cyclists, scuba diving and paragliding,” he said, adding, "Adventure sports is expensive but we get funds as through CSR and other sources. I have an ambition to build a fully accessible centre for adventure sports for the disabled.”

ON THE ROAD
Divyanshu is the first blind person to pass the world's only motorable road from Manali to Khardung pass with his captain Gagan Grover in 2014.

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