Powerlifting champion Indira Gaikwad receives outpouring of help from Punekars

Following a story by mid-day about the sportswoman’s financial struggle, she received calls with offers of assistance

Ten days ago, powerlifting champion Indira Gaikwad was losing all hope in her 17-year struggle to get a job from the state government, and suicide seemed like the only option she had left. But since mid-day revealed her heart-breaking story (Champ sells medals for Rs 500 to buy mother’s medicines, September 4), people from across the state have approached the 43-year-old disabled athlete, with offers to assist monetarily as well as with employment opportunities.

mid-day report on September 4
mid-day report on September 4

Pune-based public relations consultant, Laxmikanta Mane already transferred Rs 10,000 to Gaikwad’s bank account in an effort to help the sportswoman out of her impoverished living conditions. “Our duty does not stop at showing sympathy towards such people, and therefore whenever I hear about such incidents, I try to help in my own capacity,” Mane said.

Freddy F Turel wrote to mid-day, offering to help Gaikwad with a contribution. Turel wrote, “The story about Gaikwad was an eye-opener, and it is better to help the person in need than to wait and see whether the government is going to help her.”
Mumbai residents Mansoor Sallah and Rohit Mane also expressed their wish to help Gaikwad, who is paralysed from the waist below, and lives with her mother in a cramped 10 foot by 15 foot room. Despite being an international medal-winning champion, and receiving the state’s highest sports honour — the Shiv Chhatrapati Award, Gaikwad has received very little assistance or support from the state government.

Her only sources of money are a paltry R800 allowance from the government, the little she earns from tailoring, and the money her mother brings in from cleaning homes. Barely able to provide for basic needs with these finances, she had to sell some of her gold medals for R500, just so she could buy me-dicines for her ailing mother.

While financial assistance will go a long way in helping the sports champion and her mother, what Gaikwad really dreams of is a job to sustain both of them. Now that dream too may soon come true, as Gaikwad has begun to receive calls with job offers. “Thanks to mid-day, in the past few days many generous people have contacted me and offered their help. A private news channel has also promised to give me a suitable job,” said Gaikwad, who added that she also received a call from a multinational company interested in offering her a job.

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