Shimla (Aug 15): Umang Foundation, a Shimla-based public welfare trust, has instituted scholarships for meritorious students with disabilities belonging to poor families in of Himachal Pradesh.
It will be a first programme of its kind when on 24th August, 2011. Vice Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University ADN Bajpai will give away merit scholarships to five such students, including four visually impaired, at a function in Himachal Pradesh University. The merit scholarship achievers are Akshay Kumar, Anil Kumar, Anisha, Billo Kumari and Bhawana. He will also honour 10 visually impaired students from the state who have brought laurels to Himachal Pradesh in national level blind sports meets.
Ajai Srivastava, chairman of Umang Foundation, said they take no financial assistance under any scheme of the government. Umang has been supporting the disabled in a big way and has a number of success stories in its credit.
Akshay Kumar, a severely paraplegic, is from a remote village Seul in Kangra district. It was the result of foundation’s effort in 2007 when he got admission in MPhil in English in HP university under the 3% disability quota. This was the path breaking initiative of the foundation after which about half-a-dozen disabled students were given seats in MPhil. When he completed his MPhil with 65% marks, he was denied admission in PhD (Eng.) and ultimately the high court intervened in the matter to give him justice. Now, he is enrolled in PhD. The foundation will give him Rs 6,000 PM for three years to enable him to pursue his study.
Anil Kumar, a visually impaired merit holder BA student at Government College, Sanjoli, Shimla, will be given a scholarship of Rs 1,000 PM and a laptop. He belongs to a below poverty line family from Sirmour district and secured 75% marks in 10th and 12th class. He is an excellent athlete who won many gold medals for the state in national sports meets for the blind.
Three totally blind meritorious girl students from poor families, Anisha of Kandareri in Rampur Tehsil, Billo Kumari of Jhanduta in Bilaspur and Bhawana of Kotali in Mandi, got admission in Portmore School, Shimla, a leading government school due to the efforts of Umang Foundation. They had passed 10th in 1st division from a government institute for the blind in Sundarnagar. To protect their educational rights, Ajai Srivastava wrote a letter to the chief justice of Himachal Pradesh high court. The court treated it as PIL and issued notice to the government directing not to charge any fee from the blind girl students. The school was demanding Rs 48,600 from Srivastava as hostel and mess charges because he was the local guardian of the blind girls. The court has also directed the government to explain the state of the affair of disabled’s education in the state.
Ajai Srivastava said that apart from the scholarships, the foundation will provide all the three blind girls with for CD Players, books in Braille and digital books to enable them to study smoothly. He said the funds for the scholarships and assistive devices have been mobilized from the society. From the next academic session, the foundation will provide more scholarships to the meritorious disabled students from poor economic background.