AMK’s Priya Devi has done India proud, winning a silver medal in Basketball at the World Special Olympics in Berlin, Germany!
Priya Devi is a specially-abled girl from Mianpur, a village in Ropar, Punjab who lives with her parents and 3 siblings. She studied in a government school until the 5th grade but at school she was just sailing through, with no growth in learning. She struggled to connect with her peers, with whom she used to have constant fights in school. At home, Priya’s parents recognized that she didn’t behave the same way as her siblings – she was different, but they didn't know how to help her.
Ambuja Manovikas Kendra conducts surveys in government schools to identify children with intellectual and physical disabilities. It is there that they found Priya, whose IQ levels highlighted that she was moderately disabled. Her parents were motivated to send her to AMK for better guidance.
Priya was enrolled in AMK in 2018 at the age of 12. When she started her education at AMK, it was tough for her to adjust to the new environment. However, with time, Priya started to show progress in her communication and personal skills. She understood the importance of personal boundaries, self-care, and hygiene and also created a good impression on her teachers and learned to cooperate with her peers. Priya also acquired various domestic skills like cooking, and developed an interest in vocational skills such as stitching. She started participating in school activities like cultural events and fashion shows.
Her journey in sports began during the regular training at school in athletics and basketball. Remarkably, she excelled in sports despite her disability. Her outstanding performance in the state championships gained her recognition, and she soon started participating in competitions all over the country. At the Punjab State Olympics, she won a gold medal in the 100m walk and a silver medal in the 100m dash.
In 2019, her school sent her to participate in State Level Trials for the Special Olympics, and thanks to her hard work and talent, she was selected. But during her preparation she was diagonised with severe COVID-19, and her dreams to participate in the Special Olympics were shattered.
She didn’t lose hope however, and continued practicing in athletics, cycling and basketball. Later that year, she was selected for the basketball trials and became the only girl from Punjab to be selected for the Basketball Team representing India in the Special Olympics 2023. In a moment of national pride, her team won the Silver medal in the basketball competition.
On 27th June 2023, when her team arrived into Delhi from Berlin, they were greeted by the Former President Ram Nath Kovind, and all her family members were in attendance. Priya's parents could not believe that their daughter had reached such a level of success, and people all over Punjab celebrated her victory.
Priya's journey has not been easy, but with the support and motivation from her teachers and other incredible people, she found the strength to strive for future success and pursue her dreams in life. As she has grown older, she has also developed a love for music and dance through the encouragement of her mentors in school. Her family is very proud of her, and she looks forward to traveling in her near future while pursuing her dreams.