Using cricket to overcome disability: RDT’s intervention in rural India
Walking through the corridors of the Bukkarayasamudram School, working in partnership with the Rural Development Trust (RDT), you will find some of the most vibrant minds. Tucked away in rural Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, this school educates students with hearing and speaking disabilities. RDT has provided free education and living support along with qualified teachers to help them overcome the challenges in their lives.
RDT has facilitated the participation of these school children in sport, under the constant support of their PE teacher and the able guidance of their head coach, former airman P Karuna Sagar Chaudhary. Speaking to Mr. Chaudhary, we learnt that his first three months at the school had been one of his most difficult assignments because he had to train athletes with whom he was unable to communicate normally. He said, “In the first three months I learnt from my athletes’ new degrees of patience, situation analysis and most importantly to delay judging an individual. I have learned more from them than they have learnt the skills of cricket from me.”
He praises his athletes saying they are very talented and highly focused, which makes them stand apart. Their attitude towards the game and commitment to fair play is brilliant. The moment his athletes take to the field they are completely different personalities and fierce competitors with the ability to surprise anyone, even themselves. They won the rural cricket tournament organised by RDT in 2009 and 2014 and were runners-up in 2010. Mr. Chaudhary states that the introduction of cricket in the school curriculum and experts to aid the development of these children, has helped boost their confidence and helped them understand their importance in society. Regular participation in cricket has aided their performance in the classroom and has encouraged the students to pursue higher studies after completing high school. With the opportunities that RDT is providing them, they now have the potential to scale to greater heights.