Hasitha Illa’s quirky & fun YouTube channel aims to spread disability awareness
24-year-old Hasitha Illa from Pune is a motivational speaker and YouTuber. With her quirky talks and sense of humor, Hasitha, a wheelchair user, ensures to glue audiences to her latest YouTube channel ‘Hasitha Illa’. In ‘My Take’ this week, this youngster talks about her journey and how she hopes to become instrumental in changing society’s attitudes towards disabilities.
Though I’am basically from Hyderabad, my family has been settled in Pune for a long time now. I was born and brought up in the city. I was diagnosed with a loco motor disability at the age of ten.
Since I was able to walk quite well during childhood, my parents put me in a mainstream school. I started using a wheelchair only after I joined college. School was not too great because it was not inclusive. I have faced many incidents of discrimination and was often left out. In fact, it made me feel so odd when other students used to stare at me when I walk.
Life in a non-inclusive environment
I did a B.Tech in biotechnology. College was ok for me because students were more accepting. But what amused me is how people kept questioning the choice of subject that I took for my higher studies, it was like everyone kept demotivating me. They said B.Tech is not for someone with a disability. In fact, my teachers also tried to pull me back. They did not allow me to do practical work, so I had faced discrimination there too. But I tried to move on and I did.
I completed college and plans to do my higher studies. But due to Coronavirus crisis and lockdowns, I was unable to pursue it. But I’am looking forward to doing something interesting academically.
Hasitha has all the support from her parents and sibling. A motivational speaker, she has spoken at different venues and even shared stage with prominent personalities like renowned singer and music composer Shankar Mahadevan.
An exclusive YouTube channel for people with disabilities
It is unfortunate that people still lack awareness about disabilities. They are just not ready to accept a disabled person into mainstream and I still have not got why it is like that!
Since I love writing, I have my own blog where I scribble down my thoughts. Vlogging was something on my mind since long. So when the lockdown started in March, I kick-started my own YouTube channel called ‘Hasitha Illa’. I did that mainly because I was bored, but I love doing it now.
I have uploaded already 30 videos and has been getting some great responses too. I put up one video every week.
I have certain objectives for starting the channel. Firstly, I want disabled people to have representation. As a community, we lack that. Do we have adaptive clothing showrooms or even dolls with disabilities? It is high-time for disabled people to be represented on mainstream platforms. Secondly, I want to create awareness about disabilities and talk about life on a wheelchair. Thirdly, I don’t want other people with disabilities to feel alone. They must understand that there are many others like them.
“I hope to keep uploading more inspirational videos. What I want to tell other people with disabilities is to keep dreaming and never feel sad because of someone else’s opinion about you. Want to do something? Then just do it”.
Watch in Sign Language
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