Meet Trilochan Beura who has dedicated his life for the well being of differently-abled youths. He is coach to state cricket team for the visually-impaired, state football team for the visually-impaired and state women’s cricket team for the same. Besides, he teaches chess to the visually-impaired and has made them contest in the national-level competition. That’s not all. He is an itinerant teacher who travels around the local mainstream schools and communities to offer advice, resources, and support to visually impaired children, their teachers, and their parents. Orissa POST came across the benevolent Trilochan when he was busy teaching a visually-challenged kid at the latter’s place recently.
Hailing from Daruthenga, Trilochan does not teach sports or education to the visually-impaired for the sake of money. Rather it gives him immense pleasure and solace. When asked what draws him to extend helping hands to differently-abled kids, he said “We live in a society that sadly hasn’t developed complete awareness required to deal with specially-abled persons. There have been instances where such persons are looked down upon by the society when all they need is a better understanding and a little bit of sensitivity. One has to realise that these youths are special for a reason and understand their true potential. My own brother is a physically-handicapped person. Many a times I have noticed my cousins getting impatient with him as he takes time to catch up things. I also see them getting irritated with Kabir (name changed) at his behavior. I really felt bad about it. It made me think about the plight of other persons with disabilities and I decided to stand by these people to make them lead dignified lives. After completing my graduation, I joined National Association for the Blind to make the specially-abled person competent in their chosen fields.”
He continues: “I started my career as an itinerant teacher under the guidance of NAB general secretary Ajay Samal who works wholeheartedly for the cause of such children. I believe in the statement made by American author which read ‘Education must aim at giving the blind child a knowledge of the realities around him, the confidence to cope with these realities, and the feeling that he is recognised and accepted as an individual in his own right’. It made a lasting impact on me and provided me zeal to work for them.”
On asking to clarify the role of itinerant teachers in shaping the life of visually-challenged, he says,“ Evidence shows that the children with visual impairment adopt best to the basics of learning, literacy, daily living skills, personal organisation, and mobility at the pre-school stage. Itinerant teachers play an important role in this process by spending time with visually impaired children at home in order to prepare them for primary school education. They provide tutoring in pre-Braille skills and daily living skills. They also play an important role in developing young children’s orientation and mobility skills by assisting local rehabilitation workers with home-based programmes. Initially it was little tough for me to teach visually impaired kids. The determination to work for them made things easier for me. I traveled some areas of Barang block and taught as many as 60 students so far as a special educator. I am still carrying on the job.”
How did you become coach to the visually-impaired teams for the blind and football? To this question, he says, “ While teaching the special kids as itinerant teacher, I studied their mind. I observed that though they could not see sports but they love sports very much. When I learnt that Ajay sir was planning to form cricket and football teams for the visually-impaired, I came forward and showed interest to go for a training programme to boost my skill as a coach to train them. Besides, I love sports from my early childhood and have won many medals in different categories. For a sportsman like me, it was a golden opportunity to try my hand at sports. I led the cricket team which won East Zone Blind Cricket tournament held in Kolkata in 2016. Under my tutelage, the cricket team won runners up trophy in National Blind Cricket tournament held in Chandigarh in 2017.”
Talking about the role of a coach of Football Federation for the blind, he says, “Being a coach for the Blind Cricket Association, Odisha and Football Federation for Blind, Odisha is a matter of pride for me. Though both the games are completely different from each other, they have one thing in common. They help boost the morale of differently-abled youths. When it comes to football, players are taught to concentrate on the sound of the ball. They are guided by the voices of other players as they pass the ball. Specially designed acoustic boards around the pitch create an echo that allows the players to determine their own position by clicking their fingers and to locate each other and the ball as it goes in and out of play. Importantly, all players must shout the word “voy” when in defensive situations. This allows the attacking player to determine the position of the defenders on the field. The crowd is encouraged to stay silent so that players are not hampered in communication.”
He further says “Coaches play an important role in blind football match. A coach stands behind the attacking goal, directing the forward players; another coach stands on the sideline and instructs the midfield players, while the sighted goalkeeper helps organise the defence. During a penalty, the coach at the attacking goal taps both the vertical posts and cross bar, so that the player knows where to place the penalty strike.”
Trilochan has trained as many as 10 visually-impaired youths to participate in the national level chess competition for the blind. Sudhir Kumar Nayak, Subash Das and Siddhant Nayak have brought laurels to the state after winning medals in national-levels and they give the credit to Trilochan.
There are also a number of visually-impaired youths who were able to carve a niche in the national-level sports thanks to Trilochan. Recounting the success story of one such boy, Trilochan says, Bapina Nayak was born blind. Once upon a time he was unable to travel to Bhubaneswar from his hometown Saranapur of Nayagarh district. After he was selected for playing football, I took him to Kochi last year where underwent training. I made him travel many cities in the country to boost his self confidence. Now he is the captain of football team and goes to every place on his own.”
Another cricketer Manoj Samantray, who is partially blind, got selected to do diploma in education after he showed his sports certificate under which he got five marks. It was Trilochan who selected him despite Dinabandhu’s family’s resistance and took him to play national-level cricket match. Sports persons like Pankaj Mangraj, Dinabandhu Majhi, Prafulla Das and Kisan Mallick contacted Trilochan after they come to know about the latter’s noble deed and today they are known faces in the sports. “They were all efficient. All they needed was a boost which I provided them. After they contacted me, I went to their places and selected them in my cricket team following a demo. Every player is not equal. So, I have to experiment with techniques to make them fit for the team”, says Trilochan who also does social service in his free time. He helps the missing persons find out their families.
On asking about his inspiration, he says, “ I am inspired by Ajay Sir who introduced cricket and football for the visually-impaired in the state. Besides, his role in making me is really noteworthy. I owe my success to social activist Sushant Sahoo whose yeoman service inspired me to work for the differently-abled.”
RASHMI REKHA DAS,OP