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43 students get scholarship for higher education

DNIS News Network - Forty three young, talented and aspiring disabled students across the country were awarded scholarships under National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People’s (NCPEDP) ‘Rajiv Gandhi Scholarship Scheme for Students with Disabilities’, to pursue higher education.

NCPEDP’s Founder Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi presented the Scholarship Grant and a Certificate to the scholars on the occasion of Late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary on August 20, 2003.

Picture of Iyer Padma Venkatchalam receiving 'The Rajiv Gandhi Best Scholar Award'Iyer Padma Venkatachalam, one of the scholars of 2002, has been selected for ‘The Rajiv Gandhi Best Scholar Award’. She is a 26-year-old orthopaedically disabled woman from Kalyan, pursuing M.Tech in Bioprocess Technology from University Institute of Chemical Technology. She wishes to become a lecturer.

Students from far and wide including terror-stricken Jammu and Kashmir and the North East region came to Delhi to receive the post-graduate professional scholarship awards.

These students never let their disability come in the way of their education. It was only their economic condition that has been posing a hurdle. They are pursuing courses as diverse as engineering, medicine, computer applications, home science, architecture and agriculture.

Waheeda Mir from Srinagar, is doing Masters in Home Science from University of Kashmir. She wants to work after completing her education.

This year, NCPEDP received as many as 14 applications from Jammu and Kashmir and 12 applications from the northeastern states of India. This is the first time NCPEDP has received any application from J & K.

NCPEDP had received a total of 216 applications from students with hearing impairment, visual impairment, speech impairment and orthopaedic impairment. Competition has been tough, as only 43 candidates could be selected from 60 short-listed.

Picture of Sonia Gandhi sitting with the scholars during the Award Ceremony at 10, Janpath, New DelhiNCPEDP, which has been working for promoting equal opportunities for disabled persons in the area of employment, initiated the Scholarship Scheme in 1998.

“The objective is to enable disabled students with limited means to receive education at postgraduate and doctoral levels or professional training,” explained NCPEDP Programme Officer, Ms. Rama Chari.

“In many cases it has been found that disabled students do not have access to higher education due to various reasons, financial constraints being one of the major ones. Her/his financial needs are compounded by the fact that she/he has to incur higher expenditure for the aids and appliances, human support systems, etc,” she added.

NCPEDP has disbursed 95 scholarships till date. It started the scheme by giving just 5 scholarships from its own funds. Last year, in 2002, NCPEDP awarded 40 scholarships to aspiring disabled students.

What started with merely 11 applications in the first year has now grown to 216 applications this year.

Involvement of corporates like Shell India Pvt. Ltd., which has sponsored 20 more scholarships this year and HPS Foundation, which has sponsored 11 more scholarships this year have helped in making the scholarship scheme a success.