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National level para sportsperson Garima Joshi risks losing home, appeals for financial help

Uttarakhand para athlete Garima Joshi faces the threat of losing her home and has appealed for financial help. Garima, who plays wheelchair basketball at the national level, claims she has not received the financial aid promised by the state government and has been left virtually destitute.

A year ago, Garima Joshi was looking forward to winning a gold medal for India in an Olympics athletics event. A national level gold winner in the 800 meters sprint, she had run half marathons. But everything changed when she met with an accident and sustained a spinal cord injury.

Incredibly, the plucky 22-year-old made a remarkable comeback after undergoing intense physiotherapy and training to make it to the national wheelchair basketball team.

Now Garima faces her toughest moment. She stands to lose the home she shares with her father and brother. Garima's father, who used to work as a driver, had mortgaged their house and taken a loan of ₹15 lakh from two banks to arrange money for her treatment.

Soon after, when Garima's mother was diagnosed with cancer, he had to quit his job and her brother dropped out of college to work as a domestic help. Garima's father has been unable to settle the bank loan, nor has the loan promised by the Uttarakhand government come through.

The state government had promised to pay ₹13 lakh for my treatment but they did not pay the full amount. The Sports Authority of India gave us ₹5 lakh but that went into my physiotherapy. Now the bank has sent a notice to seal the house. The court has stayed the sealing for the moment, but the case comes up for hearing today and I don't know what our fate will be. - Garima Joshi, National wheelchair basketball player

Garima has now issued an appeal for financial help.

Dr Ketna Mehta, Founder-Trustee, Nina Foundation says Garima's plight underlines the larger apathy people with disabilities in India face.

"A budding wheelchair sports star, Garima is facing health issues, financial issues and more. Social welfare, women's welfare, NGOs, the government, family, friends, finally who can she turn to, to survive in this scenario? This is the REAL story of the plight of people with disabilities in India. Nobody likes to live off charity or ask for doles, everyone wishes to work and live with dignity. Can there be a light at the end of this huge healthcare expenses tunnel most Indians with disabilities face?"


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