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Grit and courage: These 2 teens move on from darkness to shine in sports

17-year-old rape survivor, 16-year-old boy with special needs win medals for Punjab at national tourney

Updated: Nov 28, 2019 01:34 IST

By Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times Mohali

She is a rape survivor who gave birth to a child at 14. He as a child was ferried around in a garbage cart by his mother. Now, these two teenagers with special needs (intellectual disability) from the destitute home Prabh Asra here have well and truly moved on from their traumatic past, thanks to their passion for sports.

Something of a dancing star too, she, a 17-year-old now, won a gold and he, aged 16 and named Ninder Singh, a bronze medal in floor hockey, an indoor game played by two teams with five players and a goalkeeper each, at the National Championship for Special Children in Haridwar from November 15 to 20. Both represented Punjab.

When she was brought from Ludhiana by the police to the destitute home in 2015, the survivor was eight months pregnant. Her child did not survive after birth.

“To help her recover from the trauma we helped her train in sports and co-curricular activities. She has won gold in the national games,” shared Rajinder Kaur Padiala, chief manager of the organisation that runs Prabh Asra.


For her friends at the home, the survivor is a “champion,” the best dancer ever who has been winning gold for the last two years at all the state level dance competitions. Gold and bronze medals for sports have come her way too, say authorities at Prabh Asra.

Last year, in December, she won a gold medal in floor hockey at the National Championship for Special Children in Kerala and was the first home inmate of the home to be selected for International Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi for futsal, another indoor game and variant of football, in the World Games at Abu Dhabi. She could not participate, however, due to procedural delays in getting a guardianship certificate.

Authorities ran from pillar to post to get her certificate and passport. “It was for the first time that we were making a passport for any inmate and thus owing to procedural delays we got late and thus she could not go,” said Padiala.


Ninder, with intellectual disabilities (ID), was three years old when he was brought to the home with his mother on November 5, 2006. She was found roaming the streets of Kurali carrying the child in a garbage cart.

After she requested that she be sent home, the authorities went to her house to find that her husband too had intellectual disabilities, “So Ninder stayed with us,” Padiala added.

The family’s saga of tragedy continued as Ninder’s mother disappeared while taking care of her father-in-law and has not been heard of since. Ninder’s sister, who also has intellectual disabilities, was abandoned by her husband. She too is an inmate at the home while her son, living with her, goes to school.

The young teenaged ‘sports’ stars, in the meanwhile, are continuing their quest for more success, bringing joy and pride to the lives of people at Prabh Asra.


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