Tale of a Para-athlete Mother

IMG_6322This is a story of a strong woman and an amazing mother who fought with her physical deformity to emerge victorious against all odds. Suvarna Raj aged 34 years, is an inspiration for all. She is an international Para-athlete, a social worker, an activist for the specially-abled people and an accessibility counsellor. The proud mother of a 6 years old son had her share of challenges and struggles before reaching the pinnacle of success.

Evolution of the para-athlete since her childhood

Talking about her childhood journey, Suvarna says that she had had a tough childhood. She was two years old when polio struck her resulting immobility for a lifetime. The disease made it impossible for her to walk without the use of crutches and she has been on a wheelchair since then. She spent her school days from nursery to the 10th standard in a hostel in Nagpur. She was interested in sports since her childhood days.

Her life after school and the making of a sportsperson

Post schooling she pursued B.Com, B.Ed., and M.Com. While she did her B.Com, B.Ed., and M.Com from the Nagpur University which was completed in 2007, she pursued the Masters of Social Work (MSW) after 7 years of her marriage from IGNOU, Delhi in 2015. Her academic qualification is really impressive but you would be equally amazed by her talent in sports. She was a power lifting and athletics player since college days. The sports prodigy won many national medals in power lifting and athletics till 2007. She got married in 2008 with Mr. Pradeep Raj, a renowned Para-athlete of table tennis. Her sportsmanship was further accentuated and received a new direction from her husband and in-laws. Through her consistent efforts, she won many national and international medals in table tennis as well. In 2013, she won two medals in Para Table Tennis Open 2013 held in Bangkok, Thailand. She also participated in Asian Para Games in Korea in 2014.

Her journey of motherhood, awards recognition and beyond…

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Moving ahead, she was blessed with a baby boy Prasun in April 2011. However, her journey of motherhood was highly challenging as well as inspiring. Earlier, she lost her daughter after a few days of her birth. Hence, the incident frightened her at the time of second pregnancy. But her optimistic approach towards life brought happiness and her son Prasun was born as a perfectly abled child. However, he was admitted to an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for 8 days due to his medical condition. She remembers the tough times of her pregnancy and says, “Motherhood was a turning point in my life. After becoming a mother my strength was doubled and I prepared and won many tournaments”. Now her son Prasoon is 6 years old and studying in the 2nd standard.

The brave mother, Mrs. Suvarna says that her family and her husband supported a lot in order to fulfil her responsibilities as a mother, wife, sportsperson and a working woman. She is presently working as an access auditor in the Accessibility India Campaign or the “Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan” to ensure the hassle-free mobility of differently abled people in Govt. Buildings.

suvarna-rajIn 2013 and 2014, the para table tennis player and a social worker was awarded various prestigious awards. She was honoured with National Woman Excellence Award 2013, National Role Model award by President of India, National Youth Award in 2014 and the Karamveer Puraskar by ICONGO in the year 2015.

Her involvement in the social work for disabled

The inspiring mother exclaimed that most of the work and efforts for the betterment of differently abled sector has been on papers without any concrete actions. The dedicated social worker wants to change the public perception about differently abled people and to accomplish her mission, she joined politics. She also wants to bring changes in the bill passed by Indian Govt. for the differently abled people. She wants to raise her voice from the local level panchayats to municipalities, state assemblies to Parliament to ensure that the concerns about the rights of differently-abled people are addressed.

She wants every differently abled person to be self-reliant while navigating around the city, public places like markets railway stations, metros and airports. She emphasises on providing them adequate job opportunities. Her story is an exceptional example of her hard work and determination. The undying spirit of a sportsperson and a constant zeal of social worker is further respected and completed with an emotion of motherhood. Ferns N Petals, an online gifting company salutes these brave and inspiring mothers on this upcoming mother’s day. Make your own mother feel special with unique mother’s day gifts, flowers, cakes and other amazing gift hampers.