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Udaan Idol Little Champs, Radio Udaan's annual music competition for disabled kids attracts huge response

February 9, 2019

Over the years, Radio Udaan, the pan India online radio initiative run by people with visual disabilities has emerged as a leading platform for empowering people with all types of disabilities.

Be it panel discussions on issues related to education and employment or news bulletins, Radio Udaan offers a dedicated space for the community to voice its issues and showcase its potential. Their annual music talent hunt for children with disabilities, Udaan Idol Little Champs, in in keeping with the same mission.

The 2019 hunt saw an incredible response with 155 entries from across India, of which 17 made it to the finals, that were held in Mumbai. The judges were well-known figures from the world of music like Punjabi singer Dolly Guleria, ghazal singers Chandan Das and Ghanshyam Vaswani and playback vocalist Dilraj Kaur. G K Mahantesh, Founder, Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled was also among the panel of judges.

The first prize went to Sanika Sunil Patel, who has multiple disabilities, while the second and third prizes went to Banni Chawla and Prateek Saraf.

Prateek, the second runner up, is 100% blind and started singing when he was just five years old. "He would sing along to the songs playing on TV and the radio and we decided to enrol him in music classes", says his father, Manoj Saraf. "He has taken part in many competitions and won many awards. He was also in the Top 10 in the popular show Meri Awaaz Suno.

"I was very happy to have gotten the opportunity to sing on the Udaan competition", says Prateek. "There were so many people in the audience and the competition was quite tough. I felt very happy when so many people came up to me later and complimented me".

Prateek, who is in class seven plans and is studying classic music plans to make singing a career.

The first runner Banni Chawla, just 10 years old, started singing at the age of six. Banni, who is totally blind, would hum to songs when she was a baby. An interest her parents noticed and decided to encourage through formal training. "She loves to sign ghazals of Jagjit Singh", says mother Sarika Chawla. "She feels so happy to be on stage, it gives her confidence. People ask us so many questions like 'how did she become so good', 'who taught her', etc.".

Words like these are music to the ears of Danish Mahajan, a key member of Radio Udaan.

Talent hunt shows attract a lot of people and to do this on such a large platform is big. We also give good prize money, which is a motivating factor. The participant feels happy, so do their families. It also creates awareness and tells non-disabled people that one should respect talent and not the disability. - Danish Mahajan, Key Member, Radio Udaan

Participants in the Udaan Little Champs show have gone onto bigger opportunities. Like the previous show winner Muskaan went to the United States for two months to take part in music shows.

"Muskaan was the first person from her district in Himachal Pradesh to go abroad. This makes a huge difference to their confidence levels", says Mahajan. "This is exactly what we are aiming for. When we see how happy they as well as their families are, we feel happy and motivated to keep doing this".

ALSO READ:Take your voice to the world on Radio Udaan's musical hunt for kids with disabilities!

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