There are so many little things around us to draw inspiration from experienced people.. There are people who we look up to, who have been through very tough times in their lives or face challenges unlike others. We all know about some of these incredibly powerful human beings like Stephen Hawking, Helen Keller, Albert Einstein who haven’t let their disability or limitations stop them from achieving their dreams.
Here are 4 such inspirational stories of people who taught us that nothing is impossible can be viewed as “I’m-possible” with sheer determination despite their apparent shortcomings.
1. Preethi Srinivasan
Preethi Srinivasan was the captain of the Under-19 Tamil Nadu women’s cricket team, a former national level swimmer, and an award-winning meritorious student. She met with an unfortunate accident that put her into paralysis below the neck and her promising career to a halt. The accident left her physically shattered but mentally determined to achieve her goals. She faced a lot of discrimination due to her disability and had to overcome the negativities like suicidal thoughts, and identity crisis to see light at the end of the tunnel. She later co-founded Soulfree, a foundation that campaigns to spread awareness about people with lethal spinal cord injuries and help in their rehabilitation and reintegration.
2. Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Emmanuel was born in Ghana in a village which was surrounded by superstitious beliefs regarding disabilities, with a missing shin bone in his right leg. Living most of his life in destitution after being abandoned by his father at birth and being orphaned by his mother’s death, he decided to work for the people with disabilities and empower them. In 2001, he rode a bike, with one fine leg and covered 400 miles to show people that disability doesn’t mean being incapacitated. He gave speeches to many fellowmen like him to inspire them to conquer life despite their disabilities. His contribution was recognized by the Challenged Athletes Foundation and was given a bike grant and invited for the Triathlon Challenge in California. He bagged the most Inspirational Athlete of the Year Award and Nike’s Casey Martin Award by CAF for Paralympics’ sporting achievements alongside a prize money of approximately $50,000. He used his money to start the ‘Emmanuel Education Foundation’ to provide education to students with disabilities in his hometown.
3. Abha Khetarpal
Abha contracted polio on a train journey at the age of two and a half years. Polio led her to be limited to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She had to undergo several surgeries including one to her spinal cord and an 8 inches iron rod was inserted to stabilize her lungs. But she did not give up on her passions – social work, virtual counseling, writing, and teaching. She provided free counseling through online platforms to people who were in distress. Cross the hurdles is the brainchild of Abha, an NGO working for the rights of the differently-abled. She is a gender and disability activist and an FII writer who has been awarded among the 100 women achievers in India.
4. Nicholas James Vujicic
Nick was born without fully formed limbs and the toes of one of his feet were fused which was later separated so they could be used as fingers to grab things. Being disgusted by his parents as a baby, he was inspired at the age of 17 years by a newspaper picture of a woman praying with severe disability and he started to give speeches to his prayer group. He graduated with a double major in accountancy and financial planning at the age of 21 years. In 2005, Nick became the founder of an international NGO called ‘Life Without Limbs’ and he also founded the ‘Attitude is Altitude’, a secular motivational speaking company. He also starred and performed phenomenally in the short movie named “the butterfly circus” and was recognized as the best actor by Method Fest Independent Film Festival.
These stories not only evoke emotions in us but also set fire in our soul, to burn bright and guide others in its light.