Promoting Child Rights

Photo: Amran Hossain

Overcoming challenges
‘Brought home two silvers and a bronze in Badminton in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2007′

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Zyma Islam

Photo: Amran Hossain

Photo: Amran Hossain

Sportswoman Shiuli Shathi recently became a common face within the country, courtesy of a Grameenphone campaign disseminating her achievements.
The telecom company, which has aired a television commercial and set up billboards all over the capital featuring her, introduced Shiuli as a girl with special intellectual needs who had been able to overcome her learning barriers and become an international athlete.
“I brought home two silvers and a bronze in Badminton in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2007,” said Shiuli.
Other than that Shiuli claims to have also won five gold medals in bocce, a ball game, internationally, three during the national special Olympics meet held in Brunei in 2003, and two more again in 2009.
“I was first introduced to bocce and badminton at the age of ten. It was a ploy my teachers used to keep me in school, because I was afraid around the other children and had dropped out,” said Shiuli, who studied in a school for children with special needs run by Society for the Welfare of the Intellectually Disabled, Bangladesh (SWID).
Children are allowed to concentrate on whatever areas they want at the school, and Shiuli chose to train in sports, stated the Director of SWID.
Shiuli claims to have been receiving training for ten years in bocce and badminton, from her coaches at SWID, Bangladesh.
“The Special Olympics Committee Bangladesh also gave me training prior to events,” said Shiuli.
Shiuli Shathi has completed training and therapy and currently serves as a teaching assistant for autistic children in SWID, Bangladesh.
She is also the primary caretaker of her parents, because her father has a long-term foot injury and is currently unemployed, and her mother is a housewife.
However, the meagre salary of Tk 1,800 per month she gets is barely enough to make ends meet, said Shiuli.
“It is also going to be difficult for me to get a job elsewhere, because of my autism,” she said.
Shiuli Shathi hopes to attend more international sporting events in future.

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