Inclusion only becomes inclusion when persons with disabilities are not just present but engaged in meaningful ways. And this is exactly what happened in the Bhutan Coronation Marathon held in Paro on June 18. For the first time, 15 students from the Wangsel Institute for the Deaf not just took part but completed the 21-kilometre race.
Amongst the crowd of people cheering and roaring was a group of students from the Wangsel Institute for the Deaf showing enthusiasm silently. Bringing inclusion into focus, the marathon saw participation from the students of the institute.
“We are happy that we were able to participate in the marathon. We followed other runners for direction. We are happy to be able to complete the race,” said Tshering Choden, a participant from the institute.
“We all love playing sports so much. We would be grateful if we get such an opportunity in the future as well. We would like to also thank Rinpung Sports Association and Bhutan Amateur Athletics Federation for inviting us,” said Pema Lethro, another participant.
The institute plans to increase the number of participants in the next marathon.
“We were worried that our students would be confronted with challenges along the way because they will have difficulty communicating with others. However, our students did very well. So, we will encourage our students to take part in such events in the future,” said Norbu, the Vice Principal of the institute.
Today, more than a hundred students are studying at the Wangsel Institute for the Deaf.
Namgay Wangchuk, Paro
Edited by Sonam Pem