Special Olympics Bharat: Area Directors Meeting

Nearly 70 people including Special Olympics Bharat staff, State Area Directors, Sport Directors and Special Olympics Asia Pacific staff attended the Bharat Program Area Directors Meeting in New Delhi, India, July18-19 2011.

Celebrating Progress, Setting New Targets

Mr Shri Satish Pillai (right) accepts his award for his services to Special Olympics Bharat.

The two day meeting addressed key changes for Special Olympics Bharat, and participants discussed ways to meet the challenges. Air Marshal D. Keelor, Chairman of Special Olympics Bharat, spoke of the impact of the Movement – how it influenced India’s government and society, where Special Olympics athletes are beginning to be accepted, respected, and even honored. He stressed this as an important development, showing a change in society’s attitudes towards the intellectually disabled. Air Marshal Keelor also called upon the Special Olympics Bharat team to coordinate their efforts to connect people and institutions with the same vision – using sport to change the lives of the intellectually disabled.

Recogizing Honorees' Contributions

Mrs Shrimati Jaishree Banerji (3rd from left) accepts her award from Air Marshal D. Keelor, Chairman of Special Olympics Bharat.

One highlight during the meeting was the 10th Anniversary Awards for Excellence recognizing the special contribution of key individuals in Special Olympics Bharat’s growth. Honorees included Shrimati Jaishree Banerji, a veteran Parliamentarian and Social Worker, who joined the Board of Trustees of Special Olympics Bharat in its beginning, and Shri Satish Pillai, a senior executive with Tata Steel, India’s largest private sector steel company.

Mrs. Banerji singlehandedly raised funds for Special Olympics Bharat to meet its national and international commitments to programs. She is a driving force in a prominent family that is extensively involved in social work. Mr. Pillai is responsible for Tata’s CSR program. In 2010, he received the Dhyan Chand Lifetime Award from the President of India for his charity work. Mr. Pillai also supported the Special Olympics Teams to compete in both World Summer and Winter Games. He is now a Trustee on the Board of Directors and continues to support the Program.