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Jason Whyte helps bring hope to the disabled in India

Eastern graduate Jason Whyte spent four months in Hyderabad, India. Whyte, as part of a team, helped push a disabled girl in a 10k race. Thousands of spectators saw Whyte and his four teammates take turns running and pushing Sujata Burla in a wheelchair.

Burla was in a car accident seven years prior. The car collision left her paralyzed from the chest down.

Burla’s participation in the race was set up by a non-profit organization known as Shradda. The organization was founded to promote rights, opportunities and hope for the disabled.

“Buildings are not made for the handicapped,” Whyte said. “These people who are born disabled are left out of society.”

The organization offers counseling for emotional and financial support. Shradda strives to have the disabled “engage in meaningful paid work opportunities or counseling that will help them lead a normal life.” Burla, who is also the founder of Shradda, seeks to bring disability awareness to India and hope to the disabled.

“She wanted to bring hope to the hopeless,” Whyte said.

Whyte was in India working with TENT India Ministries using the MBA in economic development he had received from Eastern.

TENT trains local rural leaders for a year as a holistic ministry, teaching spiritual lessons as well as economical and technological lessons.

Whyte also taught a community development seminar over two days and preached. Now Whyte is taking what he has learned and has co-founded his own company, BIRD: Belief In Rectitude and Divinity. The mission is to “make a universal impact across cultures, ethnicities and nationalities by disseminating positive messages through creative designs.” The company Web site will be up at the beginning of March (www.birduniversal.com).

Whyte’s friend and manager invited him to run the 10k and help push Burla. “I didn’t know what I was getting into,” Whyte said looking back on the experience. Whyte said it took him until the run was nearly over for him to realize what was going on. Burla was cheering him and his teammates on as they all brought hope to the disabled.

When asked what the most important thing he took away from this time, Whyte said, “Whatever I do, I can do it for a purpose bigger than myself.”

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