Scuba diving for disabled at Puducherry was truly a Dive for Joy
It was a first-of-its-kind event anywhere in India and there was plenty of excitement and adventurous spirits evident at the Open Water Scuba Diving Event for Persons with Disability held at Puducherry from 22 to 24 January.
Called Dive For Joy, the event was organised by Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation, which is a Pune-based NGO, in partnership with Chandigarh Spinal Rehab.
Founded in 2014, ABF's mission is to use adventure sports as a platform to promote inclusion. It works in five streams - scuba diving, tandem cycling, mountaineering and trekking, paragliding, and marathons. Chandigarh Spinal Rehab is a rehabilitation centre that aims to enable independent living and improve quality of life for people with spinal cord and brain injuries.
Over 10 people with disabilities took part in the event, with all of them getting an opportunity to swim into the open sea off the coast of Puducherry. In the group were paraplegics, quadriplegics and amputees from across India.
It was not necessary that they knew diving and swimming beforehand as they were guided by fully-certified trainers. Many of those taking part were entering the water for the first time in their lives! Like Ajeyaraj, a quadriplegic from the Chandigarh Spinal Rehab.
“I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would get to scuba dive after being wheelchair-bound after my accident. Now I saw the ocean for the first time in my life, and I am going underwater to see what lies underneath the ocean. I have never been more excited!” - Ajeyaraj
The scuba training was at the hands of experienced and certified instructors provided by Temple Adventures, which is an organisation in Puducherry.