#WonderWoman - Mariyath's grit & determination in the face of disability makes her a youth icon
In our month-long series #WonderWoman, today we bring you the story of Mariyath C. H, who has been chosen as a youth icon for Kerala by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Give any task to Mariyath CH and she does it with ease. A wheelchair user employed at a library in Kozhikode, she has beaten many odds to become a successful woman. At present, she is wearing her biggest hat as the youth icon for Malappuram district for the upcoming elections. Her inspiring story, authorities hope, will encourage greater participation in the voting process by the disabled population.
That's not all. Mariyath is also a painter, author and social worker, and she does all of this with ease.
An Incredible Journey
Mariyath, now 44 years old, was born in Malappuram. When she was in class 2, she had high fever, which led to her becoming paralysed. Her parents were determined she her a good education and Mariyath did her graduation and got a job of her choice. Currently, she works as a clerical assistant at Kozhikode and lives independently.
I am lucky enough to have supportive family and friends around me. I make sure that I get involved in a lot of activities. So basically, I do not have any free time. Being chosen as the youth icon for disabled people is truly a great feeling. This year, the Election Commission of India hopes that more disabled people come out to cast their votes".
Mariyath is also an author. Her first book, Kalam Maycha Kaalpadukal was released in 2009. In 2012, the book was translated from Malayalam to Kannada. Many disabled people have told her how inspired they have felt after reading it.
Mariyath conducted her first painting exhibition in 2011 and this was a huge hit. The experience encouraged her and she holds small exhibitions of her works at schools and colleges.
Apart from this, Mariyath is a committed social worker, working for the empowerment of disabled people and those from economically backward families. She also conducts motivational classes and has even participated in TV reality shows.
"I always tell people that you must do what you love best. In fact, there is nothing that you cannot do. When you have a disability, things might take more time. So be patient. You do not have to ape another person. You can be your own role model, says Mariyath.
Ramseena TP is a colleague and among her closest friends. Ramseena, who is blind, says Mariyath is among her biggest inspirations.
"I have been working with Mariyath since 2016. Being a wheelchair user, she has many limitations. But she has never let them become an obstacle in her path. Her positive energy and outlook towards life is truly motivational, says Ramseena.
Every year, the Kerala government introduces many programmes and schemes to ensure that disabled people come out to vote during elections. Each district officials are introducing various facilities for that. With disabled youth icons being introduced, ECI is truly hoping for a huge turnout of disabled voters this year. Youngsters like Mariyath are torchbearers for that.