Gabriel Nongrum, popularly known as India’s ‘Blind Messi’ has said all persons with disabilities (PWDs) should claim their rights and must feel equal in the society.
Speaking at a meeting cum felicitation programme organised by the Association for person with disabilities, Ri-Bhoi held in Umsning on November 6, Gabriel said any disability should not come in the way to scale heights in life.
Gabriel, who lost his eye-sight when he was just three years old, is a blind footballer from the remote village of Umskun, Nongpoh. His first ever performance in a Blind Football demo match in September 2016 prompted the Indian Blind Football Federation (IBFF) to select him for the National Blind Football Academy in Ernakulam, Kerala.
Since then there was no looking back. After many tournaments across the country and abroad representing the Indian Blind Football team Gabriel is now the coach for Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry teams. He works in IT sector in Bangalore during the weekdays and travel to Chennai for coaching the Tamil and Pondicherry blind football team during the weekends.
Gabriel, felt that persons with disabilities should grab any opportunity that fits their talent and urged such person to reach out to others as well.
Meanwhile, the association which Gabriel heads as the assistant president felicitated him and held a meeting wherein various issues faced by PWDs during the Covid pandemic were discussed.
The financial crisis due to the absence in employment, job card registration and the inability to organise fund raising programmes has been one major issue faced by the persons with disabilities during this pandemic.
Absence of proper wheel chair foot path in main towns of the State and issues related to the Meghalaya Chief Minister fund for the persons with disabilities were also discussed at the meeting.