George Abraham (cricketer)
George Abraham (born 31 October 1958 in London) is the founding Chairman of the World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) and the Association for Cricket for the Blind in India (ACBI), he is also the founder of the SCORE Foundation in New Delhi that helps several visually impaired people live their life on their own terms by providing them with employment and teaching them new skills.
Early life and education
Abraham was born on 31 October 1958 in London. His father was an engineer from Kerala. At the age of ten months, Abraham suffered from meningitis which caused permanent damage to his optic nerve and retina, thus making him visually impaired. At the age of two, Abraham's family re-located to India. Abraham was educated at several mainstream schools:La Martiniere in Lucknow, Frank Anthony's in Delhi and Kendriya Vidyalaya in Hubli. After this, Abraham undertook a degree in Mathematics at St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He graduated with honours in 1979. Abraham went on to gain a master's degree in Operations Research in 1981.
In 1989, Abraham decided to quit his job in advertising and dedicate his life to working with the visually impaired. In March 1990 Abraham wrote to noted cricketer Sunil Gavaskar informing of his plan to hold the first national cricket tournament for the blind. Gavaskar responded immediately saying that he would help in any way he could. By December 1990, with the help of Tata Steel, Colgate Palmolive, the Limca Book of Records and the Delhi Rotary Club the inaugural Tata Steel Cricket Tournament for the Blind was held. Politician and then BCCI President Madhavrao Scindia became a patron. Congress President Rajiv Gandhi and Russi Mody were in attendance. The event became an annual one and had sponsors ranging from Coca-Cola, Brooke Bond, Hindustan Lever Limited, Lipton, Kirloskar Electricals and Titan Watches. Abraham founded the Association for Cricket for the Blind in India (ACBI) in 1996. Abraham was instrumental in setting up the World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) in 1996. He was appointed president of the WBCC in 2008.
Under his leadership, the inaugural Blind Cricket World Cup was held in New Delhi in November 1998. Seven countries participated. South Africa defeated Pakistan in the final while India and Australia were the two semi-finalists. The second Blind Cricket World Cup was held in Chennai, India in December 2002. Pakistan defeated South Africa in the finals. Pakistan hosted the third World Cup in Islamabad 2006. Pakistan won the final.The fourth World Cup was held in 2011. The ACBI hosted the inaugural Indian Blind Cricket League (IBCL) 2010 in New Delhi. Teams competed in a League come knock-out basis.
In 2002, Abraham established the SCORE Foundation, a non-profit organisation which launched Project Eyeway as a single- stop knowledge resource for people living with blindness and low vision. Today Eyeway comprises the website www.eyeway.org, a weekly radio programme 'Yea Hai Roshni Ka Karwan' which is broadcast from 30 cities in India, the Eyeway helpdesk, the Eyeway news SMS service, the Eyeway Talking Book service and the Eyeway training service programme. In 2004, Abraham along with a friend, Navroze Dhondy established Magiktouch Talent Management PVT LTD to identify and promote musicians who are visually impaired. Concerts have been organised at New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Washington and Amman. As well as this, Abraham actively participated in the movement that campaigned for the Persons With Disability Act 1995 in India and the inclusion of disability in the 2001 Indian National Census. In addition to this, Abraham was involved in the establishment of the Vision Enhancement Center at the Shroff's Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi helping individuals with low vision. This also included the development of the Pediatric Ophthalmology Rehabilitation Programme in the Alwar district of Rajasthan
George Abraham married Rupa in 1986, a horticulturist and is the father of two daughters Neha and Tara.
Awards and accolades
Abraham received the Sanskriti Award in 1993. He received the Rotary Vocation Award in 1996. In 1996 Abraham was chosen to run in the Olympic Torch Relay in the Atlanta Olympics. In 2001 Abraham was elected as an Ashoka Fellow. In 2003 Abraham was awarded the Rotary for the Sake of Honour Award. In 2007 George Abraham was chosen as a Limca Book of Records People of the Year for his contribution to Blind Cricket and his work with Project Eyeway along with the likes of A R Rahman and Mahesh Bhupati. Abraham has been featured on Discovery Channel's Discovery People. He was part of the Aviva Forward Thinkers 2007 TV campaign. In 2008, Abraham was featured on Channel 5's Paul Merton in India which aired in the UK.
Articles and publications
- Abraham is one of the authors of Chicken Soup for the Indian Spiritual Soul (2010). ISBN 9789380283272
- Handbook of Inclusive Education for Educators, Administrators and Planners' (2004) by Madhumita Puri and George Abraham. ISBN 0-7619-3266-6
- Abraham had a column in The Indian Express called "Talking from Within" in 1995 about personal insights into disability and living with disabilities.
- Abraham had a column in The Asian Age called "Heart Talk" in 2003 about the ICC World Cup in South Africa.
- "George Abraham's Score Foundation helps visually impaired people lead normal lives". Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- Shah, Maitreya (26 November 2017). "In Conversation With George Abraham, Founder Of The World Blind Cricket Council". The Logical Indian. The Logical Indian. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- "WBCC Appoint George Abraham As President". Cricket World. Cricketworld Media Ltd. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- Siddiqui, Rana (29 March 2007). "Winners all the way". The Hindu. The Hindu. Retrieved 20 December 2018.