Hellen Keller award for spastic from Karnataka

Hellen Keller award for spastic from Karnataka

Hellen Keller award for spastic from Karnataka

Siddharth receiving the Helen Keller award from Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi recently.

Fired by the determination to achieve in life, “if only we (spastics) are given an opportunity,” 28-year-old Siddharth, who has made Chennai his home, was recently awarded the prestigious National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People (NCPEDP) Hellen Keller Award.

The award was presented to Siddharth in New Delhi by Union Minister for Human Resources Development Kapil Sibal.

Soon after birth in his ancestral village in Karnataka, Siddharth was infected with jaundice. But it took nearly four years for doctors to diagnose that he suffered from cerebral palsy right from birth, recalled his parents Jayakumar and Komala.

On what has been firing his spirits despite a grave handicap from childhood, Siddharth said: “It is the support I get from people that keeps me going. I want to be among a few people with cerebral palsy who have come up to this level.” He now works as an executive with ABN Amro Bank in Chennai.

But it has been a long and painful journey for Siddharth. After a year at the Spastics Society of India, Bangalore, he was admitted to a school (now called Vidya Sagar) for special children run by it here.

Siddharth showed remarkable progress and proved to be an excellent student that in 1995 he was admitted to Class X at a normal school in Chennai.

In the course of time, Siddharth cleared his Plus Two board examination with 90 per cent marks. “We owe special thanks to the Tamil Nadu Government, which gave him one hour extra time for each exam and allowed a scribe to write for him,” recalled Jayakumar.

Subsequently, Siddharth completed BCom from Vivekananda College in the city and went on to earn a Master’s in Economics from Loyola College with an amazing 74 per cent in four semesters.

Impressed by Siddharth’s academic performance, ABN Amro selected him as a trainee officer in 2005 at a job fair organised here by Ability Foundation.