‘We need to look first at people’s abilities, not their disabilities,’

Diksha has been paraplegic since birth but does not allow her disability to define her or be a hurdle in her achieving her goals in life. The United Nations had recently appointed her as a global ambassador for the ‘A World at School’ educational programme. As a Youth Ambassador, Diksha campaigns across their schools and communities in India for the education of every child

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“When you see a disabled person I urge you not to look at their disability, but rather their abilities. If you believe in yourself, then you can turn your weakness into your source of strength,” says Diksha Dinde, a 25-year- old student activist and Global Youth Ambassador from Pune.

Dinde added, “Their disability is not their identity. You have to look beyond it. Disabled people are as capable as normal people, and sometimes they can do things which even a normal person can’t.”

Diksha now advocates for disabled individuals rights, the welfare of underprivileged children, and the promotion of menstrual hygiene in the Pune district.

She further said, “I have faced discrimination in most parts of my life. I couldn’t travel or move out of my house without someone accompanying me because of the lack of accessible vehicles and travelling options for disabled people. Also, because of the dearth of wheelchairs in public places, I had to compromise on my independence of moving freely. I have also struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past.”

Dinde said, “Since I have faced these problems myself and experience them first-hand I decided to take an initiative and work towards helping them.”

When asked about what prompted her to get into this field, she replied saying, “I used to wonder whether I would be able to work for disabled people. While visiting an orphanage, I witnessed the living conditions of the children over there. I realised that they don’t have parents or sufficient food to eat. And here I was, I had everything, but, I couldn’t do anything.”

She went on to say, “It hit me that I am capable of so doing anything I want to and I cannot let my disability limit me. After this incident, I changed my approach and decided to do something to help people like me.”

Dinde helps in providing the necessary equipment for disabled people. She helps provide and distribute wheelchairs, canes, special glasses for the blind. She also explains them about the government policies which are in place for them. And explains them about the benefits of the schemes as they aren’t aware about them.

In 2017, Diksha was invited to the Asia-Pacific conference held in Malaysia, while speaking at the event she, said, “I have been working for this cause for a long time, but I owe all my success to my parents and friends who have always been there to support me from the very beginning.”

She further said, “Disabled people should not closed themselves off to other people. You have to discover your own hidden talents and share them with the world. Then, you will realise that the world is a beautiful place.”

In a conclusion Diksha said, “My message to others like me is that disabled people can do anything if they set their mind to certain task. Initially, even I had low self-confidence. But was able to move forward due to the support of my family members and loved ones. People like me should not limit themselves thinking that they are disabled. We always think, ‘what do I lack, but instead we should focus on what we have. If this happens we can turn our weakness into our strength.”