15 February 2021, Bengaluru: The Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) has signed a MOU with The Centre of Excellence for Consultancy Projects (CECP) from S.P. Mandali’s Prin. L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research (WeSchool), Bengaluru, for a consulting assignment to measure the social impact of Cricket on visually challenged participants. Through this initiative, the parties aimed to measure how a sport like Cricket can help in enhancing the quality of life of a player over time. The study explores improvements of visually challenged cricketers in their physical activity, mental well-being, social life, and economic independence.
Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI), the cricketing arm of Samarthanam, fosters the game of blind cricket and the visually impaired players across India. Samarthanam Trust stands to be a complete solution provider by supporting the education and livelihood needs of persons with disabilities and those from underprivileged backgrounds.
According to the National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey 2019, blindness is more pronounced among illiterates and the rural population. Accessibility to formal education, public spaces, public transport system, challenge the visually challenged from forming a social network. The majority of them are unable to get adequate training to enter the workforce. Thus, there is a need to prepare them for life, add confidence to their abilities and empower them to be economically independent.
As part of the study, the interviews evaluated the vision and perspective of Management as well as zonal secretaries and studied 201 visually challenged players to understand and assess the improvements in their physical activity, mental well-being, social life, and economic independence through the sport.
The results confirm good mental health, high accessibility, and adaptability for the visually challenged players. After joining Cricket, they experienced an increase in their confidence, satisfaction, quality of life and social status. Many visually challenged players started their journey in rural India with poverty, blindness and social isolation. Due to their talent in Cricket and the opportunities provided by CABI, today they are well known international Cricketers and are pursuing higher studies. CABI is playing a crucial role in training and coaching the players, organizing national and international matches, and an opportunity to interact with the media and fans.
Speaking at the unveiling of the report, Mr. Mahantesh GK, Founder Managing Trustee at Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, Bangalore and President, Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) said, “It is inspiring to know that playing Cricket has helped the visually challenged players learn life skills, empowered them and enabled their inclusion into the mainstream society. We hope that the study inspires aspiring visually challenged to come forward and participate in the sport. As an organization, we believe in empowering visually impaired individuals to reach their zenith. The player’s cricketing talent and the platform provided by CABI has helped them gain prominence in sports and encouraged them to transform their way of life. Playing cricket has created awareness and enabled their inclusion into the mainstream society and international Cricket.”
Commenting about the collaboration with CABI, Prof. Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool said, “We are honored to be a small part of Mr. Mahantesh’s GK socially driven initiative. Through the research, we witness how visually challenged Cricketers ace their game and influence their lives. This project has enabled us to do an in-depth study on sports as a potential medium to elevate the lives of the visually challenged. We can turnaround lives if we begin creating equal opportunities for all individuals. As an educational institute, we have always been at the forefront of research-driven initiatives. It refreshes our management development perspective to work with change-makers on research for such social initiatives.”