Lack of vision no barrier when India's 1st blind solo paraglider soars in the sky
Divyanshu Ganatra was just 19 years old when glaucoma affected his sight. It was a tough time for Divyanshu who loved cycling, climbing mountains and trekking. The thought of being limited to the four walls of his home was simply unbearable.
With time, Divyanshu gained the determination to fight free of those limitations. Today he is famous as India's first blind solo paraglider. His personal journey has also convinced Divyanshu that only sports can help create an inclusive world, bringing people with and without disabilities together.
It took Divyanshu some time to get to this mental state. After his diagnosis, he was frustrated and depressed for a long time. Eventually he built up his mental stamina and physical strength. He realized that he belonged to the outdoors and slowly resumed activities like cycling and climbing.
He started paragliding with the help of an instructor. He realized said that being in the sky was liberating and he felt free as a bird.
Over time, he decided to beat the notion that disabled people need sympathy. Divyanshu decided to do this by starting an organisation, the Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation (ABBF). The ABBF tries to bridge the gap between the able and the disabled, in collaboration with Firefox Bikes, a leading brand of outdoor cycles.
Divyanshu believes that there has been a change in attitudes towards disabled people in India. He hopes that as more people open their doors to the disabled community, there will be an even bigger change in mindset.