The unstoppable Maitri Shah is determined to give her best & chase her dreams
Mumbai-based Maitri Shah, 25 years old, was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy when she was a few months old. But this youngster has beaten her physical disability to chase her dreams. Maitri, a wheelchair user, completed the course she aspired for and is now running her own company. In ‘My Take’ this week, Maitri talks about her empowering journey.
When I was hardly six months old, my parents noticed certain developmental delays. For instance, I wasn’t holding my neck properly like other children of my age. They felt something was not right and decided to consult pediatricians and neurologists. So after a biopsy, I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy (MD). So this happened when I was around six to ten months old.
During that time, my parents were completely unaware of what the condition was. But they were hopeful that I will grow up and become an independent woman. They believed some kids are weak during childhood, but becomes stronger when they grow up.
An inclusive and happy childhood
My parents, due to my disability, wanted to admit me in a nearby school. But the school was not cooperative at all. That is how I got admitted to the same school where my brother studied. It was a regular school and I spent all my time with other children and did not have any hassles. I was there till class 10. It was a very inclusive school and I was treated in par with the other kids.
The school, my teachers and friends encouraged me and helped me to bring out my best. I was their first student with a disability, but was never treated differently. Maybe that is why I felt my disability was not a big deal. I was also a good student and got scholarships too
I was active in extra-curricular activities like painting, drawing, elocution, writing plays in both school and college.
During those years, I had regular physiotherapy sessions. But I can say that my childhood was normal, especially on an emotional level.
Finding the path to empowerment
I completed class 10 with a 95 percent. I wanted to take up engineering. But it was hard to get through engineering colleges because they were not OK with a wheelchair user being part of the institution. University said I cannot do practical sessions while sitting on a wheelchair. My parents were also worried and skeptical, but I convinced them. In spite of many difficulties, I got through a college. I had to get legal assistance to get through because even the university was not willing to admit a student with disability. My parents could afford the process, so it happened.
I took up computer engineering, but during my first year final exams, I got infected by pneumonia. I was on life support for 15 days. Though I missed one exam, I gave it after six months. After that, it was quite a smooth sailing journey for me.
Founding ‘Mind Assets’
During final year placements at college, I tried jobs with a few companies. But they all denied my application saying that they do not have provisions to hire a person with disability. I wanted to do masters and start my own company. I decided to do masters online and chose not to go abroad because my family was here and I wanted to spend time with them.
‘Mind Assets’ was formed in July 2017. We are an online recruitment company that works towards providing job opportunities for people with disabilities.
Currently, my sole aim is to help my company flourish so that we can reach out to many people with disabilities and give them the right platform.
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