This Christmas, meet 5 Special Olympics guardian angels who have been there for thousands of children with intellectual disabilities.
- Vivek Kumar Singh: Hit by a tragic accident which left him partially blind when he was a child, Vivek Kumar Singh has never let his disability stop him from fulfilling his dream of becoming a national athlete. A firm believer in the power of sports to change lives, he has also been serving as a volunteer with Special Olympics since 2005. Vivek has been reaching out to the most isolated, organizing games and sporting activities for children with intellectual disabilities in rural villages across India, to develop their motor and social skills.
“I can’t wait to see the day that every young athlete has the opportunity to develop into proud, confident representatives of India on the world sporting stage. The world must understand that athletes with intellectual disabilities deserve the same and more.”
-Vivek Kumar Singh
Read the full story of Vivek’s extraordinary journey HERE
- Baljit Rana Singh: Meet these extraordinary parents, Inderjeet and Baljit Rana Singh. Their eldest son, Samarpratap, was born with a tumor in his brain and spent the first few years of his life enduring multiple surgeries, treatments and hospital visits. The family came close to losing him when he was just 3. Despite the odds, they have always kept the faith that their child would be able to grow up happy, healthy and safe. Their hope is simple: for him to be able to speak, express his thoughts and be independent.
“Just one day at a time, with baby steps forward as we go. That’s enough.”
-Baljit Rana Singh
Read this incredible family’s full story HERE
- Noraini Amin: Noraini Amin learnt that she was going to have a child with Down syndrome in the sixth month of her pregnancy, and was asked by her doctors then to make a life-defining decision. She knew that she would have to work a little harder to raise this special child, but it never crossed her mind not to have her. Today, her daughter Hadbaa is 8 and is their little bundle of joy! Strangers sometimes point at her and ask ‘why does she look like that? What’s wrong with her?’, but Noraini never lets it get to her or her daughter. She has been watching protectively over Hadbaa, refusing to let the judgment of others stop them from living their best lives.
“To every parent with a special child, my message does not hide them. We mustn’t let the fear of people stop our children from exploring the world.”
Read this loving mother’s full story HERE
- Drs Arlyn and Dindo Astom: Meet an extraordinary duo who are guardian angels to five beautiful children. Their eldest son, Aaron, now 22, was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 and their youngest twins, Daniel and Gabriel, were also found to have autism. When people ask them how tough it is to bring up three children with autism, they say that they are not limited in any way. They have guided these young ones to become independent and well-respected individuals. Their children never fail to inspire them and do them proud with their achievements. Gabriel loves to sing and even won a singing contest some time ago. He also took part in a poetry contest. The Astoms believe that with or without a disability, we can all live life to the fullest. Sometimes, all it takes is a little improvisation and patience.
“We do not believe in giving up, especially not on our own children.”
-Drs Arlyn and Dindo Astom
Read this beautiful family’s full story HERE
- Joan Iven Jamora-Abello: Meet a guardian angel who has gone the distance to ensure a full and happy life for her son, Joachim. Joachim was diagnosed with autism at a young age and struggled to follow instructions. When Joan found out about her son’s condition, she was in shock and grieved for a long period of time. As someone who excelled at everything she did, she had a hard time accepting her son’s condition. She had numerous sleepless nights and tough days. But she never gave up hope. After quitting her corporate job and taking up teaching full time, she made it her life’s goal to not only educate her family, but the world about children with intellectual disabilities. Today, Joachim is budding into a confident young man with multiple talents, from singing to drawing to swimming!
“Children are gifts. Typical or atypical, we must give them the opportunity to spread their wings. It is up to us to discover their talents and potential.”
-Joan Iven Jamora-Abello
Read the full story of this inspirational mother and son HERE
These angels have made the world better and more inclusive, by taking a step to support thousands of children with intellectual disabilities. You, too, can be their guardian angel. No step is too small. Take your first one today and give these children the #GiftofInclusion!