Nima and Dechen shine bright but Draktsho needs more resources and space

Nima Yoezer, a 17-year-old art and painting student at Draktsho, won 2 gold medals in the shot put and 100 meters race for Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany.

Similarly, Dechen Peldon, a 19-year-old and learning weaving at Draktsho, won silver in shot put.

The Bhutan Special Olympics Team was sponsored by the Bhutan Olympic Committee, the Bhutan Football Federation, and other individual donors.

This is not the first time that the student-athletes have won medals at the Special Olympics, but it is the 4th time even with the drawback that the talents and abilities of persons with disabilities are hardly recognized or acknowledged.

These athletes have won medals at an Olympic level which is the highest level in sports, have competed amongst 190 countries and more than 7,000 athletes so it is really a huge achievement for the individuals as well as the country.

The Executive Director of Draktsho Deki Zam said, “Financial constraint is the biggest challenge for Draktsho. We would really appreciate it if their talents are acknowledged, and they be given more recognition that they deserve, just like any other person without a disability.”

“Draktsho East Center is well established with support from various donors but Draktsho Thimphu is still based in a rented building, which is not accessible for persons with physical disabilities. And we can’t do anything about it because it is not our property. We have been looking to establish our own infrastructure for Thimphu for a very long time but it’s so difficult to find land for the purpose,” she said.

She said that every year with an increasing number of students the availability of spacious training rooms is becoming a challenge for them.

The Director wishes that if they could get a plot of land, they would aim to build their own accessible infrastructure for all people with disabilities.

She further added that the two athletes did not face any challenges during the games, but before that, finding the funding to participate in the games was hard. However, with support from Special Olympics International and donations from a few individuals, they were able to participate.

“Recognition for what they have achieved will highly benefit them; it will empower and encourage not only themselves but also other people with disabilities to step out, and recognition for what they have achieved will highly benefit them. It will empower and encourage not only themselves but also other people with disabilities to step out and shine,” the Director said.

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