He was nineteen years old when Divyanshu Ganatra lost his eyesight to glaucoma. At the age when one is perpetually dogged with the “what next” question, he was told that his future lay in making cane furniture and chalk pieces. The many years that followed tell a story of resilience, determination, and will power topped with a generous dose of humour and wit.
Facing the stigma and stereotyping that affects a person with disability first hand, Divyanshu quickly realised that the only way to bring about change was to foster relationships, promote interaction, and champion inclusivity. In 2014, Divyanshu became the first blind Indian to paraglide solo. Seeing sports as the perfect platform, he founded Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation (ABBF) in 2014, an organisation committed to supporting accessible adventure sports across avenues including marathons, mountaineering, and scuba diving. Today, ABBF has impacted 3500 people with disabilities and 1.5 lakh people in the mainstream community, as well as receiving both media attention and celebrity support.
Growing from one strength to the next, celebrating one success after the other, Divyanshu and the team at ABBF have bigger dreams. They hope to build the country’s first completely accessible outdoor adventure sports centre, help train a team to represent India at the Paralympic Games for tandem cycling, and catalyse a world where disability is only read as another identity marker. Falling back on Mandela’s famous words that “sport has the power to inspire…(it) can create hope where once there was only despair,” Divyanshu hopes to create a more equal, accessible and inclusive world, one marathon, one climb, and one ride at a time.