Diksha Dinde, a 23-year-old Pune resident, is the true inspiration and ideal face of young India. Through her continuous efforts she has been proving at every step of her life that any bodily disability does not make you weak, but mental blocks does. For her commendable work to uplift underprivileged children through education, she has been awarded the State Youth Award by the Government of Maharashtra.
Here, she shares her thoughts and future plans with My Medical Mantra.
Your work for children’s education has been recognised by state and even at the global level. Today, you are the face of inspiration. What is your inspiration for doing such amazing work?
I am physically-disabled from birth. My parents had to carry me everywhere and they did it without complaining. So, I am just following their legacy of never giving up despite the odds. The very first time I visited an orphanage home and saw the children, I felt like doing something for them. Those who have nothing in their life. When I have mind, thoughts and support, then why I should limit myself just because I cannot walk?
As you have decided that something needs to be done to help the underprivileged in our society, how did you execute this?
I joined an organisation called ROSHNI, which was started by a few students, and I started working for the education of children living in slums. During my work on field and interactions with differently-abled people, I realised that we need suitable infrastructure for them. Along with my group of friends, we started providing writers for blind students and Braille books. We also try our best to generate possible employment opportunities for them. Providing improved health facilities has also been a part of this organisation.
What are the hurdles you faced in the beginning which have made you strong to keep up with your goal?
I was denied admission for the first grade by a well-reputed school just because I was disabled. I completed my primary education from a municipal school. This is what motivates me every day to work for differently-abled kids.
What are your future plans for the disabled people?
I would like to implement various education policies for underprivileged children with help of policy makers. I will emphasis on education of girls and differently-abled children. I also want to work to change mentality of every stakeholder of our society towards children or people like us. Special toilets and infrastructure needs to be developed in schools and public places.
What do you think about the current scenario and what has to change?
We need to work on our education policies, especially for differently-abled children. Such children are often referred to special schools, forcing us to believe that such schools are meant for us, and that we can’t be educated in a normal school. When we talk about inclusive growth and equality, we cannot deny somebody’s right to equality.
You are part of a global movement of young people working towards education of every child representing India, what do you have say on this?
‘A World at School Global Youth Ambassador’ programme is a global network of young people campaigning in their country for children’s education. I had received an invitation to apply for this programme from A World at School and I got appointed as their Global Youth Ambassador. I talked about the education system and what changes are needed to improve it.
Could you share some of the current projects you are working on?
Currently, I am working on a project called ‘Hope under the bridge’. We are educating 88 street children. This project started on November 7, 2016. I saw their parents asking them to beg and that is why I thought to do something constructive and bring these children into mainstream education.
What is your message for the society and those who have given up in life?
We, as a society, should create a holistic approach towards physically-disabled people. It is true that government policies do play a vital role, but people should change their mind-set towards people like us. My message to the disabled people is that whether you are visually-impaired or physically-disabled, that should not demotivate you. Let’s defeat the negativity within us by boosting positivity. Do not think that your physical weakness is the end of your life. If world characterises you differently, then be different through your inner skills and power.