Corporate Social Responsibility

Disability Is A Matter Of Perception | These 5 Indians Will Tell You Why!

Communications Team | Dec 03, 2019 | 3 Min. Read

A head full of dreams has no space for fears!

Indians always been known as hard workers and people with never- say -die attitude. This International Day of Disabled People, iVolunteer salutes some of the exceptional achievers and is happy to share their stories. These heroes teach us that strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. After reading their stories it prompts us to think that are we pushing our limits enough? THINK!


Dr. Satendra Singh is a medical doctor at University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, Delhi. A physiologist by profession, he contracted poliomyelitis at the age of nine months. Undeterred, he went on to complete Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College, Kanpur and later on Doctor of Medicine in Physiology. Dr. Singh is the first ever Indian to win the prestigious Henry Viscardi Achievement Award given to extraordinary leaders in global disability community. He is also a prominent disability activist and works extensively to make public places more accessible to persons with disabilities. Dr. Singh’s efforts made ATMs disabled-friendly by constructing ramps. Similar initiatives were taken by him for the post offices, medical institutes, polling booths, etc. He is also the founder of Infinite Ability – a medical humanities group on disability. Dr. Satendra is not only an inspiration for the disabled community but an inspiration for everyone. Nothing can stop you if you have the will and passion to work hard and achieve what you dream.


Arunima, a native of Uttar Pradesh, lost one of her legs in a horrific incident, when she was thrown off the moving Padmawati Express train for resisting a chain-snatching attempt by hooligans in 2011. Subsequently, the Indian Railways offered her a job. She was then brought to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where she spent four months. A private company provided her a prosthetic leg. This horrible incident was not strong enough to crush her spirits or doubt her own self. She got in touch with Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest in 1984 to train under her after making up her mind to be a mountaineer. Arunima refused to give up and was determined to become a mountaineer. She became the world’s first female amputee to climb Mount Everest in 2013. She has also become the first female amputee to climb Mount Vinson, the highest peak of Antarctica. In 2015, Arunima was conferred the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour in India. In the same year, she also received the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award. Disability did not stop Arunima from dreaming and her desire to conquer the highest peaks.


Preethi Srinivasan, the former captain of the under-19 Tamil Nadu women’s cricket team, held the record of being the youngest to have played for a junior state team. She was a national level swimmer as well. Preethi had everything going for her but things took an unfortunate turn when she met with an accident at the age of 18. The mishap left her quadriplegic but she did not let this pull her spirit down. Instead, she decided to embrace it and help out others with a similar or worse plight. Preethi runs a charitable trust in Tamil Nadu called ‘Soulfree’ which helps out people suffering from severe disabilities. Through this NGO, she wants to uplift the disabled sections of the society by creating awareness about these injuries and potential employment opportunities. Preethi’s NGO also provides training for various professions such as radio jockeying, audio book recording among others. With her sportsmanship spirit and unwavering support from her family, Preethi has become the voice for the spinal cord injury survivors.


Born visually impaired in a poor family in Rajasthan, Khan saw a tough childhood. However, with the immense support from his elder brother, who also happened to be visually impaired since birth, Khan managed to continue his studies with excellent results. He is the first visually impaired candidate to qualify in the SSC Hindi Shorthand and Stenography Examination and has been awarded at the Limca Books of Records – People of the Year 2016. Having a great interest in music, Khan was invited to various platforms as a performer as well as a judge. His biggest achievements include getting a National Award for The Welfare of Persons with Disabilities in 1989. Khan has always believed in himself and says that visual impairment is a blessing and not a curse for him. Akbar Khan is an inspiration to millions – a man with great will and determination.


Deepa Malik is the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic medal. After being diagnosed with a spinal tumor in 1999, she underwent three spinal surgeries and got 183 stitches between her shoulder blades in a period of 14 years. If you think that stopped her, you’re grossly mistaken. That only made her stronger and more determined. The mother of two was diagnosed with the tumor while her husband was fighting in the Kargil War and her daughter was unwell.  She won a Silver Medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in the shot put. She has also won gold medal in F-53/54 Javelin event at the para athletic grand Prix held in Dubai in 2018. She currently is the world number one in the F-53 category. She was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2012, the prestigious Padma Shri Award in 2017, and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2019. She has won 58 national & 23 international medals across all disciplines to date. Malik is an avid biker and is associated with Himalayan Motorsports Association (H.M.A.) and Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (F.M.S.C.I.). She has undertaken an 8-day, 1700-km drive in sub-zero temperatures which included a climb to 18000 feet. It was – Raid De Himalaya. This journey covers many difficult paths including remote Himalayas, Leh, Shimla and Jammu. Her name is listed in LIMCA World Records for: Longest Pan-India drive done by a paraplegic women (Chennai-Delhi 3278 km – 2013) , driving Across Nine High Altitude Passes in Nine Days on Leh-Ladakh (First Woman in the world in her disability to attempt a journey like this – 2011), Riding Special Bike (2009),Swimming in River Yamuna Against The Current For 1 km (Allahabad-2008). We salute the indomitable spirit of Deepa Malik.

Sources: Femina, Economic Times, Huffington Post, TOI, Business Standard

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