The All India Deaf Arts and Cultural Society (AIDACS) and the Deepa Malik (Padma Shree, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and Arjuna Awardee) led Wheeling Happiness Foundation has announced the winners of the 9th Miss and Mister Deaf India 2020, post the crowning ceremony held at New Delhi’s NDMC Convention Centre on Thursday.
The 65 contestants from all across the country were further encouraged by the presence of Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament from New Delhi who was the Chief Guest. Also present was Ms. Arushi Nishank Pokhriyal, renowned classical dancer and national convener of the Sparsh Ganga campaign along with Sh. Dharmendra, IAS, Chairman, NDMC. Sh. Rajkumar Punjabi, President, AIDACS, played the gracious host to perfection.
The list of winners are as follows:
- Mr. Deaf India International 2020- Ramesh R, Age-24 from Tamilnadu
- Mr. Deaf India World 2020- Mohit Upadhyay, Age 23 from MP
- Ms. Deaf India International 2020- Aarti Sharma, Age 20 from MP
- Ms. Deaf India World 2020- Shwetha K, Age 20, Karnataka
The programme was kickstarted with a special show where 15 specially-abled children of New Delhi, Municipal Council’s (NDMC) Achal School accompanied past winners on the ramp to showcase a specially curated ensemble created by Ganesh Vyas which was designed on the theme of Swachh Bharat. These specially-abled children were selected based on a poster/art competition organised in their school by Wheeling Happiness Foundation around the same Swachh Bharat theme.
The main event was spread across four Ethnic, Fashion, Talent and Q&A rounds respectively before the finalists and winners were shortlisted. The winners will now be groomed by experts and with the intervention of Wheeling Happiness Foundation to compete on global platforms representing India.
Eminent jury members Prof. Nigel Howard (International Sign Language Trainer), Sheetal Poolanda (Classical Dancer & Company Secretary), Rupalii Sethi & Sunalii Sethi (Fashion Designers), Retd. Lt. Rita Gangwani (Renowned Personality Developer & Pageant Trainer) & Koyal Rana (Femina Miss India 2014) was also there at the event.
Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, Chief Guest (Member of Parliament, New Delhi)
The Union Government under the visionary leadership of the Honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modiji has espoused the cause of empowerment and development for all through the Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas pledge and we as his footsoldiers are committed by it. The immense talent on display today is ample evidence that disability is only a state of mind and a matter of perception. I want to thank AIDACS and Ms. Deepa Malik to give me the opportunity to be part of such a special evening. I wish all the contestants, past winners and the wonderful children all the very best in life and assure them that we will do everything in our capacity to ensure that their dreams are fulfilled.
Ms. Arushi Nishank, Guest of Honour (Renowned classical dancer and national convener, Sparsh Ganga campaign)
As an artist I can recognise and associate with the immense potential these contestants have to present only if accorded an opportunity. I am so proud to say that this is not just any event but one which has been able to drive human potential beyond boundaries of ability and disability alike. Our nation is vast and diverse; our people are talented beyond measure. It just takes a little push to help build on the existing capabilities and showcase who we really are.
Dr. (h.c) Deepa Malik, Co-Founder, Wheeling Happiness Foundation (Padma Shri and Khel Ratna awardee)
Our whole idea with this evening was to provide a national platform to the specially-abled community to showcase their talent and gain more attention to maybe get absorbed in the mainstream fashion industry or open the doors for them to pursue any other dreams that they may be nurturing. We also wanted to make it more inclusive among the specially-abled community as well and therefore the involvement of specially-abled children. Making them involved with national campaigns such as Swachh Bharat will also boost their confidence and egg them on to contribute more positively towards nation-building.
Mr. Rajkumar Punjabi, President, AIDACS
It is really heartwarming to see so much support and appreciation for the specially-abled community and on behalf of AIDACS we want to thank the Honourable Member of Parliament Ms. Lekhi for taking out time from her schedule to encourage the contestants. All were winners today. We must also thank Ms. Arushi Nishank for inspiring her with her kind words and last but not least Ms. Deepa Malik and Ms. Devika Malik for making this 9th edition of the Miss and Mister Deaf a grand success. Their commitment and energy towards the cause have been amazing. We at AIDACS will continue to support the Deaf community with our various programmes that we keep conducting throughout the year and we elicit your support for the same. This pageant was conceived to provide confidence to and showcase skills of the community and we are proud that winners from this platform have done India proud internationally. May God bless you all.
Ms. Devika Malik, Co-Founder, Wheeling Happiness Foundation (Psychological Counsellor, Queen Elizabeth II, Vice-President of India & United Nations awardee for community service)
Disability and inability are very different. Here at Wheeling Happiness Foundation, we are collectively working to improve things for people with disabilities. These disabilities can be visible, invisible/permanent, or temporary. The lack of inclusive infrastructure and opportunity if addressed can help to tackle this issue head-on. Our society and eco-system that we live in is a co-dependent one and as for those who need help, it becomes imperative to extend a hand and help them stand alongside us all at an equal level always. That is how I see society evolving to a more compassionate one.
About All India Deaf Arts and Cultural Society (AIDACS):
All India Deaf Arts and Cultural Society (AIDACS) is a non-governmental organization established in 2002. The organization is operational in Delhi, India. All India Deaf Arts and Cultural Society works in the area of Art & Culture, etc. The NGO works towards the promotion of sustainable development. Over the years AIDACS has become one of the largest cultural societies of India which is engaged in the rehabilitation and cultural activities of differently able persons over the years. 15 State teams representing various parts of India are affiliated to this society, making it a true national body. The Society imparts training/counseling and opportunities benefiting those in their rehabilitation to all the deaf/hearing impaired in the fields of Fine Arts and Cultural activities like Dances / Dramas / Mime & Magic. Their main objective is to feel the world that despite being disabled, they strive hard to work and perform at par with the normal. Till now, the society has the achievement in organising 12 (Twelve) All India Cultural Festival for the Deaf (seniors) and Four All India Cultural Festival for the Deaf Children.
About Wheeling Happiness:
Wheeling Happiness foundation is the brainchild of co-founders Deepa Malik (Padmashri, Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awardee) & Devika Malik (Psychological Counsellor, Queen Elizabeth II, Vice-President of India & United Nations awardee for community service). Deepa Malik has been paralysed below chest for the past 2 decades and Devika has gone through hemiplegia, which causes paralysis to one side of the body. The mother-daughter duo has overcome the challenges of their own disabilities to become international para-athletes and disability inclusion advocates. Having faced the challenges of disability first-hand, they established Wheeling Happiness Foundation, which promotes inclusion, disability sports, raises funds for people with disabilities and promotes better access and equality for those facing physical, emotional and social challenges, to wheel happiness into their lives. Wheeling Happiness has conducted disability awareness & inclusion workshops in numerous schools and colleges across India. It advises public & private sector companies on designing inclusive employment and client services strategies. It conducts accessibility audits; engages in international disability advocacy & drafting of inclusive international policies at the Commonwealth and world stages; provides counseling, driving lessons, mobility aids & sports equipment and facilitates access to public and private sector employment for economically disadvantaged persons with disabilities. The foundation believes in the transformative power of sport and has helped over 50 persons with disabilities to become sportspersons, thereby focusing on abilities beyond disability and enabling self-reliance & emotional well-being. Our Co-founders have received national & international recognition for the work of Wheeling Happiness towards community development and achieving the Sustainability Development Goals leaving no one behind. The Foundation is an 80G certified trust organisation registered under the Societies Act.